CU College of Music adds Fourth Named Program

$2 million gift endows the Roser Piano and Keyboard Department

By Peter Alexander

The Roser Piano and Keyboard Department joins the Thompson Jazz Studies Program, the Ritter Family Classical Guitar Program and the Eklund Opera Program as one of four named programs at the University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Music.

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Becky Roser. Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado.

The name is the result of a $2 million endowment created by Becky Roser, who has helped support the College of Music in a number of significant ways. She is currently the chair of the music+ campaign committee, a fundraising effort that aims to raise $50 million for the College of Music in advance of its centennial in 2020.

Roser’s is the first major gift to the music+ campaign since it’s public announcement earlier this year. Roser says the gift reflects her love of the piano from childhood. “My mom and dad bought me a piano back in 1951,” she said in a statement from the university. “I played that piano from the time I was young, and then my daughter Nicole played it, too.”

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Robert Shay

“This is an individual of unique vision and leadership and commitment,” College of Music Dean Robert Shay says. “Becky was determined to make this happen, and it really comes from the heart, it comes from her passion, from her love for music generally, but I think her love for this College of Music in particular.

“I want to highlight from my perspective how much Becky means to all of us here in the college and how appreciative we feel of this very generous effort. These kind of funds really allow all of us, our faculty especially, to kind of dream big.”

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David Korevaar

David Korevaar, the Helen and Peter Weil Faculty Fellow and acting chair of the piano and keyboard department, says it will take some time for the faculty to realize what the gift will mean. “It’s a whole new world as far we’re concerned,” he says. “We’re all still sort of just getting our heads around this. We’re going to end up in a situation where we can be thinking more strategically, and thinking bigger than we’ve been able to think.

“We have this great feeling that Becky, who has been such a friend to the College of Music, is willing to make this amazing investment in keyboard. That’s just kind of a stunning, wonderful thing.”

Korevaar said that the faculty have discussed several opportunities that the funds would create. These include a summer piano festival in Boulder, residencies by distinguished keyboard artists that would include both teaching and performances, and increased support for scholarships and professional development for students. Such plans will develop over time, he says.

The statement from the university quoted Roser saying “It makes me happy and it brings me joy to be able to do this. An endowment goes on forever, and now more than ever, it’s important to have done this.”

Prior to heading the music+ campaign, Roser served on the College of Music Advisory Board, and led a fundraising program to refinish the pianos in the Grusin Music Hall and Chamber Hall.

The contribution to the piano and keyboard department is only the latest in a series of gifts from the Roser family to the CU Boulder campus. The Roser Visiting Artists Program brings artists, musicians, dancers and filmmakers to campus as guests. In 2009, the ATLAS Institute’s home on campus was named the Roser ATLAS Center in honor of a gift by Becky and her late husband Jim Roser.

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