Richard Elliot Luby died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 68 on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 in his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1979, Luby was a renowned violinist and a master teacher for over 40 years.
Luby grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and was a young star of the famed violin teacher Mischa Mischakoff. His first recital at the age of 13 earned him accolades and propelled him to an enduring international solo and chamber music career which continued through recent days. Dr. Luby played a Michelangelo Bergonzi violin made in Cremona, Italy in 1757. His bows were by Domonique Piccatte, Francois Tourte, and John Tubbs.
Luby earned a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Ivan Galamian. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music. Dr. Luby was a Fulbright Scholar in Paris where he studied with Rene Benedetti and Nadia Boulanger, as well as Josef Szigeti in Switzerland.
Luby’s distinguished career extended from Baroque and Classical music on historical instruments through the newest repertoire for modern violin. He appeared as violin soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa of Mexico, the National Radio Orchestra of Poland, the Rochester Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra, among others. In recital he performed cycles of the complete works for violin and piano of Beethoven, Ives, Prokofiev, Brahms, and Stravinsky, as well as the Sonatas for violin and harpsichord of J.S. Bach.
Richard Luby had a special interest in the solo violin Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach and performed them, on Baroque violin and modern violin, to widespread critical acclaim at the Wigmore Hall in London, Merkin Hall in New York, the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, and throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
Luby was a featured artist with numerous period instrument ensembles, including Concert Royal, the Folger Consort, and the Mozartean Chamber Players. His recording credits include two sets of Haydn Trios on the Arabesque label, Bach Concerti on Society Records, and Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Baroque Violin, recorded for BBC broadcast by Meridian Records. His recording of the Chopin Trio is due to be released by Albany Records later this year.
Luby performed throughout the world as a member of the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century of Amsterdam, and as conductor/soloist with orchestras in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He had been a guest clinician at universities and conservatories throughout the United States and Mexico, Spain, Cuba, and China. As violin soloist with the UNC Symphony Orchestra, Professor Luby performed concerti by Barber, Berg, Brahms, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Symphonie Concertante of Mozart.
A beloved member of the UNC music faculty with a brilliant and quick wit, Luby was the Music Department’s Associate Chair for Performance, Composition, and Music Education for the last six years. A dedicated teacher of violin and chamber music, Dr. Luby’s students came to Chapel Hill from around the world to study with him. Many have gone on to distinguished performing and teaching careers. He co-founded Ensemble Courant, and performed and commissioned many new works. Luby also maintained a private studio of young violinists. Since 2012, Luby had been Artistic Co-Director of MYCO Music, a chamber program for pre-college musicians at UNC.
Before coming to Chapel Hill, Luby served as Principal Second Violinist of the Rochester Philharmonic, where he co-founded the Society for Chamber Music of Rochester and taught at the Eastman School of Music. He had also been a Visiting Professor at the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Guest Professor at the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico.
Luby is survived by his wife of 25 years, Susan Klebanow, his son, Nicholas Luby, his father Dr. Robert R. Luby, and his sister, Ellen Luby Schoenfeld. He was preceded in death by his mother, Miriam Cutler Luby. Professor Klebanow, Director of Choral Activities at UNC-Chapel Hill, and their son Nicholas performed with Luby to great acclaim.
Donations may be made in Richard Luby’s honor to The Professor Richard E. Luby Memorial Fund at the Department of Music of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Checks should be sent to the Professor Richard E. Luby Memorial Fund, The Department of Music, Hill Hall, CB# 3320, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320, or donations made online at music.unc.edu/make-a-gift/make-a-gift
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