Miami Music Club members continue 90-year tradition

For 90 years, its lively membership has been comprised of composers, performers, teachers, music professionals and music lovers. Its activities have included concerts, competitions, galas and monthly meetings. The club’s philanthropy has resulted in scholarship money for young musicians, and its founding member was none other than composer Mana-Zucca, who settled in Miami and brought musical talents from around the world to perform in her home, which was dubbed “The Carnegie Hall of the South.”

The Miami Music Club was founded in 1920 for the express purpose of distributing scholarship money to young, talented musicians on a career path. While many of its original members have passed on, its enrollment continues as fresh faces of all ages become members.

President Ana Rodriguez was a Miami Music Club scholarship recipient, and is excited to be giving back to the club that gave her so much. She and Dr. Laura Keith, vice president, are busy performing concerts, holding competitions and increasing enrollment.

The Miami Music Club will host its fundraiser, the Annual Gala 2010, on May 12, 1 p.m., at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Coral Gables. Ana Rodriguez and Laura Keith will perform selected one piano-four handspieces, some of which are quite rare. Composers include Shubert, Chopin, Dvorak, Cervantes, Saint-Saens and Barber, who is included in honor of the centennial year of Barber’s birth. The Chopin piece, Variations in D Major, Opus Posthumous, is the only composition he wrote for one piano-four hands, and is so rare that it had to be ordered from Poland because no publisher in the United States distributes it.

The Annual Gala 2010 will include a catered lunch and drinks. The cost is $35, and the money goes directly to the Miami Music Club’s scholarship fund. The event is open to the public. Appropriate business attire is requested.

Part of the enthusiasm Ana Rodriguez feels for this historic club is due to the scholarship money members once awarded her. She went on to earn her Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music. This Cuban-American pianist specializes in Latin American music, and has performed extensively in concerts and recitals in Europe, Mexico, Canada and the United States. She has been presented in prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie’s Recital Hall and Merkin Recital Hall, and has been televised and broadcast on radio in New York and Mexico.

Rodriguez also has received several prestigious awards, including the Puerto Rican Cultural Association’s Emilia Conde Award for young talent, Artist International Special Presentation Award in Carnegie’s Recital Hall, and Artist International Alumni Award in Merkin Recital Hall. She also was seen and heard in the movie Fourhand, where she plays solo and chamber music.

Laura Keith received her doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Miami. The subject of her dissertation was Mana-Zucca, a child prodigy, pianist and composer who was integral in bringing classical music to Miami in the 1920s.

Dr. Keith has maintained a piano studio for many years and is the vice president of the Miami Music Teachers Association, as well as vice president of the Miami Music Club. Her students range in age from 3 to adult. Dr. Keith recently gave a lecture recital in Portland, OR, at the National College Music Society Conference, and performed in the Miami Civic Music Piano Gala Concert at UM’s Gusman Hall. For more information on the Miami Music Club and membership opportunities, visit online at < www.themiamimusicclub.org >.

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