Obituary: Violinist and Suzuki advocate Louise Behrend, 94

Posted on: August 18, 2011

In Tuesday’s (8/16) Washington Post, Emily Langer writes, “Louise Behrend, a concert violinist who trained a generation of American teachers in the Suzuki method and whose standing as a musician helped the Japanese movement establish itself in the United States, died Aug. 3 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville. She was 94 and had complications from dementia, her family said. … Her musical ability earned her a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, where she performed so impressively as a student that the school kept her on as a faculty member after her graduation in 1943. … Ms. Behrend was teaching at Juilliard in the 1960s when Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki method, brought a group of students to the school. His philosophy was based on the notion that children should learn to play music just as they learn to speak: at a very young age through imitation and repetition. … She became convinced that his method was an inspired one and dedicated the rest of her life to teaching it in the United States. In the early 1970s, she founded the School for Strings in New York City. It remains one of the premier Suzuki-based schools in the country.”

Posted August 18, 2011