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Violinist endows annual scholarship fund

Violinist endows annual scholarship fund

Professional violinist Clare Galambos-Winter is supporting undergraduate and honours violin performers at the New Zealand school of Music with annual scholarships worth $7500.

The scholarships, made in perpetuity, are known as the Clare Galambos-Winter Honours Scholarship in Violin Performance (valued at $4500) and the Clare Galambos-Winter Undergraduate Scholarship in Violin Performance (valued at $3000).

The 82-year-old Mrs Galambos-Winter, a World War II Auschwitz-Birkenau camp survivor, arrived in New Zealand in 1949 as a Hungarian immigrant. She has played the violin professionally for 50 years, including 33 years in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and chamber music until recently.

The endowment has been arranged with the assistance of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation to benefit students at the New Zealand School of Music – a centre of excellence established by Victoria and Massey universities.

Director of the New Zealand School of Music, Professor Elizabeth Hudson, says the endowment is an amazing and thoughtful contribution from an incredible survivor and musician.

“We are exceedingly fortunate to have Clare as a benefactor and future generations of talented violin students will benefit immensely from her generosity.

“In fact we are lucky to have Clare at all. She and her aunt survived Auschwitz-Birkenau only because they were chosen to leave the camp to provide forced labour in a Nazi munitions factory. The terrible conditions meant she came close to death, yet she managed to escape the factory two days before the Americans arrived. Tragically, her parents and younger brother didn’t survive.”

Professor Hudson says the scholarships will be awarded on a yearly basis to one honours student in violin performance – based on their talent, performance, examination results, career aspirations and financial need. The undergraduate scholarship, also in violin performance, may be held for more than one year, but is based on the same selection criteria.

Mrs Galambos-Winter says the endowment is her way of saying thank you and showing appreciation to her adopted country. “New Zealand provided me with a new home and enabled me to continue to play the violin as a professional performer,” she says.

Last year, Mrs Galambos-Winter gifted two of her valuable violins to the New Zealand School of Music, one of them was the first violin she bought after arriving in New Zealand – sold to her by a member of the Symphony Orchestra. The other Hungarian violin was bought in the 1980s from a fiddler touring with the first group of gypsy musicians to visit New Zealand.

In parting with her beloved violins, she said she was pleased her violins would be played by young people.

“I know how difficult it is to get to play on quality instruments and I hope it will make a difference to some talented young musicians who are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.”


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