I’m in Tampa, Florida this evening, staying with my parents. My mother, Judith Edberg, is the piano professor at the University of Tampa. Well past the traditional retirment age of 65 (although she looks as though she is much younger than that), she continues to regularly perform, add works to her repertoire, and develop new courses.
What a fantastic inspiration! She played an all-Gershwin program Sunday afternon on the magnificant 9-foot Steinway in the university’s historic “Grand Salon.” The Three Preludes, six Gershwin songs arranged for solo piano by Gershwin himself, and the Rhapsody in Blue, accompanied by one of her colleagues, Tara Swartzbaugh, at the second piano. Tara studied piano many years ago with Florence Patterson, my mother’s mother (and my grandmother) in Royal Oak, Michigan, before becoming a piano major at the University of Tampa where she studied with my mother. Tara told the audience tha when she was in sixth grade, her parents took her to hear my mother perform Rhapsody in Blue with the Detroit-area Jewish Community Center Orchestra. She was quite awed, in that special way that only a serious student can be of an accomplished artist, and so, she told us, it was quite a special moment to now serve as the “orchestra.”
As far as I know, everything on the program except the Rhapsody was a first perfromance for Mom. That’s the way to be a college music professor: to keep growing and developing. That’s the way to be a human being in general, too.
My mother continues to play with great power, beautiful sound, wonderful musicality, and imagination and sensitivity. It was a beautiful afternoon.