Widely considered the finest-made pianos in the world, one Steinway piano at home is a treat for any pianist. Naomi Jury Chandler-Riek ’42, an alumna of The College of Wooster’s Music program had four, and in her estate, she gave them to The College of Wooster.
Chandler-Riek studied piano with Clarice Parmelee who taught piano at the College for 30 years. “She was the best teacher I ever had,” Chandler-Riek said of Parmelee according to her obituary. “She was a whiz, and the most marvelous sight-reader ever.” At Wooster, Chandler-Riek met her first husband, Charles H. Chandler, a violin student of Clarice Parmelee’s husband, Daniel, the first conductor of the Wooster Symphony Orchestra. Naomi and Charles married after World War II and lived in Princeton, New Jersey, where they designed and built a home that’s living room dimensions rivaled Boston Concert Hall, filling the room with the sound of four pianos. Both accomplished musicians, Naomi and Charles once played Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano together for Albert Einstein.
Chandler-Riek’s love for music and piano was reflected in her support of Wooster as she gave regularly to the Department of Music. She established the Naomi Jury Chandler Reik Endowed Fund through a number of planned gifts to the College to support the Department of Music including the acquisition and maintenance of musical instruments. After her death in May 2020, the College also received the four Steinway pianos from her home.
“The four Steinways substantially upgrade the quality of our pianos throughout the department,” said Peter Mowrey, professor and co-chair of the Department of Music. “These wonderful instruments will make their way into classrooms, into studios, and onto stages. Not only will this result in an immediate improvement to music making and teaching at these locations, but the instruments they replace will be free to be used elsewhere, ultimately resulting in a more general improvement to the quality of the pianos at many locations throughout Scheide Music Center.”
The Chandler-Reik Endowed Fund also boosts the endowment, helping to maintain instruments and equipment, purchase new equipment as necessary, and provide for the needs of the program. “Ms. Chandler-Reik’s generosity has opened up so many possibilities that we are eager to begin exploring,” Mowrey added. “The impact of these wonderful instruments and the generous addition to our endowment will be felt by our students and program, today and many years from now.”
Above: Wooster alumna, Naomi Jury Chandler-Riek ’42, donated four pianos to the College in her estate that were delivered this fall.