Temple To Celebrate 50 Years At Shenandoah University

Temple To Celebrate 50 Years At Shenandoah University

Through five decades Temple’s students have consistently achieved highly successful careers and recognition as performers, teachers and music professionals in the United States and around the world.


Her job offer came via Western Union telegram in 1962, and Professor of Piano Elizabeth Temple answered the call. 50 years later, she is still a vibrant and dedicated faculty member of the Shenandoah Conservatory. Temple will celebrate her 50th Anniversary on Saturday, March 31 among friends, family, faculty, current students and alumni.

Through five decades Temple’s students have consistently achieved highly successful careers and recognition as performers, teachers and music professionals in the United States and around the world.
“Teaching has been at the center of my life since I joined the Shenandoah Conservatory faculty,” said Temple. “During these years I have learned much about myself, about music and, most of all, the importance of having respect for every individual who enters my studio, no matter how great or modest their capacities may seem. My students themselves have taught me more than I could ever imagine. To each of them I am deeply grateful.”

Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons said, “We are so thankful to have such an exemplary and accomplished professor here on our faculty. Elizabeth Temple has dedicated her time, talents and love to this university, and to her students. Words cannot express our deeply felt gratitude to Professor Temple for all she has done throughout her 50 years at Shenandoah University.”

The March 31 event celebrating Temple’s contributions and accomplishments over the years will include a 2 p.m. reception in Temple’s Studio (Ruebush Hall Room 200), a 4 p.m. concert in Armstrong Hall and a reception following the concert. The concert is free and open to the public.

Nearly 20 pianists will participate in the concert, with a program that includes several ensemble piano performances by Shenandoah University piano faculty members and current piano students. Temple herself will take the stage to perform with flautist and longtime colleague and friend, Frances Averitt. Distinguished Artist-in-Residence John O’Conor will perform a solo piano piece and eight alumni will join together for an ensemble of 16 hands on four grand pianos, conducted by Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez ’99, artistic director of The New Orchestra of Washington. Composer and pianist Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal ’94 will premiere a newly composed piano composition dedicated to Temple.

Temple has performed in hundreds of concerts and recitals with faculty colleagues and guest artists at Shenandoah University as well as at universities, museums and recital halls in Ireland, Great Britain and the eastern United States. She has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and on radio and television broadcasts in Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Temple has also performed concerts in collaboration with internationally renowned guest artists such as harpist, Marjorie Tyre; violinists, Eric Rosenblith, Leopold LaFosse and Charles Castleman; Chicago Symphony clarinetist, Lawrence Bloom; and Mier Ramon, principal horn of the Israeli Philharmonic. Temple has performed in numerous festivals including Chautauqua Festival (N.Y.), Kneisel Hall (Maine), Lenape Ensemble (Pa.) and Craftsbury Chamber Players (Vt.).

She founded and managed the first Artist Series on the Winchester campus during the 1960s, organized and chaired the committee that founded the Creative Arts Program (now Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy – SCAA) and developed the piano accompanying curriculum (now “Collaborative Piano”) with degrees at the bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral levels.

Temple was granted the Shenandoah Arts Council “Artie” Award in 1990 for outstanding contributions to the Winchester Community. In May of 2003 she received the University Wilkins Award and in 2009 was recognized by Shenandoah University with the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award.

In 2003 she founded, with the support of her keyboard division colleagues, “The World of the Piano” artist series, now in its ninth season, which brings to the campus and community brilliant pianists who are renowned worldwide. Temple continues as the series’ artistic coordinator. She has served on numerous conservatory committees, most recently the All-Steinway Initiative led by Conservatory Dean, Michael Stepniak.

She began her piano studies at the age of five, and played in her first recital after two months of lessons. Her principal teachers included Helen Ewing Love, Edward Hughes, Margaret Peterson, Patricia Benkman, Walter Goltz, Herman Godes, Marilyn Neely and Fernando Laires. Temple received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (then Indiana State College) in 1960, a Master of Music in Performance from West Virginia University in 1962, and has pursued advanced studies in Solo and Collaborative Piano at the Catholic University of America and West Virginia University.