Honoring the Verdehr Trio Legacy

Marking their 30, 40, and 50 year milestones, a new endowment will support talented students who carry on the long-standing repertoire tradition.

Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr; university distinguished professor of clarinet, and Walter Verdehr, professor of violin.

In 1972 Walter Verdehr and Elsa-Ludewig Verdehr co-founded the Verdehr Trio which, over the years, has become an acknowledged leader in the field of new music. The Trio has performed in 53 countries throughout the world presenting an exciting, innovative repertoire for clarinet, violin, and piano created by commissioning 225 new works from some of the world’s most exciting and prominent composers from the U.S. and abroad, including eight Pulitzer Prize winners. 

Among composers who have written for the Trio from the U.S. are Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, Kevin Puts, Bright Sheng, William Bolcom, Gian Carlo Menotti, Ned Rorem, Gunther Schuller and from abroad Wolfgang Rihm (Germany), Peter Sculthorpe (Australia), Alexander Arutiunian (Armenia), Betsy Jolas (France), as well as six of our own MSU composers. Many of these works are being performed by groups in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Australia and next summer, 2015, the International Clarinet Association is honoring their legacy with the Verdehr Trio Composition Competition, including a prize of $5000 for the best new work for this chamber music medium.

2012-2013 marked 30/40/50 year milestones for the Verdehrs:

  • 30th Anniversary of the Verdehr Summer Series at Wharton Center 
  • 40th Anniversary of the Verdehr Trio
  • 50th Anniversary of Dr. Elsa Verdehr and 46th Anniversary of Dr. Walter Verdehr on the faculty in the MSU College of Music

In June 2013 the Verdehr Trio presented their farewell concert on the stage of Wharton Center on MSU’s campus, featuring a selection of works they commissioned over the past 40 years. 

To mark the milestones listed above and also with the purpose of perpetuating the study and performance of this new repertoire, while supporting talented and worthy students, the Walter Verdehr and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr Trio Endowment was established in June 2014. This fund, which will last in perpetuity, is to provide dollars annually for scholarships or graduate fellowships for students who actively engage with the Verdehr Trio repertoire through performance, recording, and scholarly activities.

Please consider whether you would like to honor the work of your friends and colleagues and former teachers, Drs. Elsa and Walter Verdehr, with a contribution, made in their honor, to the Verdehr Trio Endowment. We are seeking your support of the Verdehr Trio Endowment established in honor of Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and Walter Verdehr. 

Please click here to make a secure, on-line credit card gift. Or, if you would like to connect personally about making a contribution to this endowment, please feel free to contact Rebecca Surian at surian@msu.edu or 517-353-9872.

Thank you for your support to ensure Walter and Elsa’s legacy remains strong at Michigan State University, reaching audiences across the nation and globe for years to come.


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