©2014-2016 Alida Augen
Her performance repertoire included all the Chopin Ballades and Polonaises, piano concertos by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn’s “Rondo Capriccioso”, Lecuona’s “Malaguena” and Sinding’s “Rustle of Spring”. She plays with great passion, nuance and power and with deep, innate musicality.
Within a year of the death of her beloved father, Jeanette graduated as The Valedictorian of the class of 1937 at Evander Childs High School in New York City. She contrasted the public schools in New York and Connecticut in her valedictory address. There were 1,041 students in that class, which included the comedian, Red Buttons, and the son of Duke Ellington, saxophonist Mercer Ellington, for whom Jeanette was the accompanist. In addition to her frequent solo performances at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Aeolian Hall, she was the editor of her school yearbook, was a member of their Honor Society, Arista, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Charming”, modeled for The John Robert Powers Agency in New York and received a full scholarship to The University of Michigan. Selflessly, Jeanette chose to stay home with her recently widowed mother, a hard-working nurse, in New York and to go to work herself (at AT&T) to help support the family, which includes her younger brother, Hendrik van Dorsten.
It was also at this time that Jeanette was the staff pianist at the professional music camp, “Camp-of-the-Woods”, in The Adirondacks during her summers. There she played elegantly for thousands of guests; and there she met R. Crawford Stahl, the trumpet soloist and band director, the first-ever Rochester Prize Scholar at The Eastman School of Music – and Jeanette’s future husband. It was love at first sight and at first hearing; and they are still making beautiful music together at home.
Over the years, Jeanette continued to perform as a piano soloist and as an accompanist to many fine professional musicians, as well as to many of her husband, Crawford Stahl’s, instrumental students - and always to their daughter, Alida’s, violin-playing and singing. She accompanied many church services and lent her lovely, clear soprano voice to her husband’s church choir for the twenty-three years that he served as choir director. In addition, Jeanette taught many piano students privately in her home and served as President of The Harmony Club in Binghamton, New York, a group of professional musicians who perform frequently as soloists and in chamber groups. When a soloist was tackling a particularly difficult piece, he went to Jeanette van Dorsten Stahl to provide the most excellent and elegant accompaniment.
JEANETTE VAN DORSTEN STAHL (Alida’s mother) is the daughter of Alida Marie LaMens van Dorsten and Henri Jean Michel Laurent Elskamp van Dorsten, both born in The Netherlands before they met and settled in The United States. Jeanette began study of the piano at the age of four and was soon accompanying her father, who was a very accomplished singer with a beautiful, rich baritone voice and who performed extensively. Jeanette studied piano in New York City with Anita Wolff, and, by the time she was sixteen, was playing solo piano concerts at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Aeolian Hall.