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Dr. Donald Patterson Receives
MAILED: Aug. 27, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Donald Patterson, professor of music, is the fourth recipient of the Maxwell Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The award recognizes a commitment to the university, achievement in scholarship and a commitment to student learning and life.
“Receiving the Max Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship is an enormous honor,” Patterson said. “I am very grateful to the university.”
Patterson will use the $5,000 award to research and document the life of Dora Zaslavsky Koch, a piano professor who greatly influenced his life and career.
“Of Russian ancestry, Dora Zaslavsky Koch was a longtime faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and a teacher of bigger-than-life proportions who influenced generations of performers and teachers,” said Patterson, who earned his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. “Although I took my last lesson from her in 1972, her influence on my playing was profound and her philosophy of care and concern for the individual student helps shape my teaching to this day.
“By investigating Dora’s life, I will be able to pay tribute to her and share her with my students.”
Patterson, a member of UW-Eau Claire’s music faculty since 1976, regularly presents public piano recitals, offering his listeners a diverse repertoire, said David Baker, chair of the music and theatre arts department. His approach to repertoire selection goes beyond well-known piano masterworks, extending to the seldom-heard niches in music history and new music by relatively unknown composers, he said.
“Being a performer has enriched my life and teaching,” Patterson said. “By giving recitals, I have put myself on the line on a regular basis as an example and inspiration to my students and as a means of staying skilled in my art.”
A respected author and reviewer, Patterson is a leading scholar on piano music of American composer Vincent Persichetti and an authority on piano music for one hand.
While performing, research, publishing and recording are important to him, Patterson has always put teaching and his students first. “I have tried to see each student as an individual with individual talents and abilities, and I have encouraged them to find their own path and to succeed in ways that match their skills and intellect,” Patterson said of his teaching philosophy.
“Dr. Patterson truly has made a difference in the lives of his students,” Baker said. “Under his guidance, they have received numerous awards and acknowledgement for their prowess as performers and developing scholars.”
A master pedagogue, Patterson ensures that the courses he teaches are informative but also that they aggressively and actively engage students in learning, Baker said.
“In his 26-year tenure, Dr. Patterson has consistently been a faculty leader and unselfish advocate of the arts,” Baker said. “His leadership has made a tangible impact on university-community relations, and he recently coordinated activity to create a preparatory program in the performing arts. His work with area music teachers has fostered good will and significantly enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the university and the local arts community.”
The professorship was created in honor of Maxwell Schoenfeld, a UW-Eau Claire history professor and scholar from 1964 until his death in 1996.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 27, 2002