Thank you, Lt. Governor Bolling and Daniel. Mary Baldwin University is delighted to embark upon our affiliation with the Heifetz International Music Institute. Our work together is an outstanding union of historic strengths as well as the foundation for a new synergistic chapter for the arts within Staunton, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and indeed across the globe.
When Daniel and I first met many months ago now, through our common connections to the Staunton Military Academy, we sensed the depth of our personal commitments to music and its power of emotional communication.
The power of the common commitments shared by the Heifetz International Music Institute and Mary Baldwin University is also compelling. Mary Baldwin has nurtured the arts for 170 years. Our founder Rufus Bailey expressed the unusual opinion for the mid-19th century that the arts were not merely accomplishment or adornment for women, but rather a vital and necessary conveyer of purpose and emotion. This is, as Daniel has eloquently conveyed, the cornerstone of the Heifetz Music Institute—that brilliant musical talent is transformed by the ability to emote and communicate the magic of great compositions. Mary Julia Baldwin opened one of the first music conservatories in the south here in 1871. Through the 20th century Mary Baldwin faculty led the performing arts to new levels on campus and in the community, including late professors Fletcher Collins, Jr., Carl Broman, and Gordon Page through to our excellent faculty today. In 2001, Mary Baldwin was privileged to join in partnership with the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Playhouse as we launched signature graduate programs in Shakespeare and Performance.
Mary Baldwin University is dedicated to being a college within a community. In 1867 Mary Baldwin faculty members organized the first concert of the Staunton Musical Association at the Virginia Institute for the Deaf and Blind to an audience of 600. Our connection to the performing arts here is prized and strong, with the American Shakespeare Center, the Staunton Performing Arts Center, the Staunton Music Festival, and so many more.
I’m proud that this prestigious organization has chosen our campus and the city of Staunton as its new home. Through our new affiliation with the Heifetz International Music Institute, Mary Baldwin is strengthening its long commitment to excellence in the performing arts. It is indeed a perfect fit, through our mutual emphasis on leadership and service, on international scholarship and global connections, in educating bright young students, and in cultivating the whole person with special belief in the power of music in an interdisciplinary context.
Staunton already boasts a thriving arts scene, with an array of high quality offerings that is astounding for a community of this size. The Heifetz Institute will enrich this further. I witnessed the incredible performances of students and faculty myself this past summer. I can tell you with utter confidence that when the Heifetz International Music Institute arrives on our campus and in our city in the summer of 2012, it will be inspiring, breathtaking, brilliant, and an exceptional privilege. So many individuals have assisted in making this day possible, too many to mention, and I am grateful to everyone.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, my research passion as a musicologist, said that “you cannot move others unless you too are moved.” I assure you; you will be not only moved but transported by the excellence of musical communication through the Heifetz International Institute for Music at Mary Baldwin University.