As the percussion program in Mason’s School of Music continues to grow, a generous donation by a gifted musical luminary will help enhance educational experiences for students.
Fred Begun, who served as the principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) from 1951 – 1999, has donated his entire library of musical scores and individual timpani parts to the university. The collection includes copious notes from composers and conductors during his tenure with the NSO, as well as autographed timpani parts. The School of Music hopes to have the collection in its possession by the end of the year.
“As one of the great musicians of his generation, we are honored that Mr. Begun has chosen Mason to donate his collection of materials used during his musical career,” says John Kilkenny, faculty member and percussion area coordinator in the School of Music. “This collection includes a wealth of personal musical advice that will be an invaluable resource to current and future students in the School of Music.”
Begun began his professional musical career on the timpani – also known as a kettledrum – in 1951 after graduating from the Juilliard School of Music. Throughout the years, he has appeared under the batons of conductors such as John Barbirolli, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and Mstislav Rostropovich. He also holds the distinction of having given three world premiere concerto performances for timpani. His book, “21 Etudes for Timpani,” is used in music conservatories throughout the world.
To honor Begun’s legacy and commitment to performance and education, the School of Music and the College of Visual and Performing Arts developed a program that will offer more educational opportunities for students. The program is composed of the following elements:
- The percussion studio in the de Laski Performing Arts Building will be named the “Fred Begun Percussion Suite.”
- Scholarships named for Begun will be offered to outstanding percussion majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- A Visiting Artist series will offer percussion majors the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned guest performers and educators. Guests will be in residence for one or two semesters each year.
For more information about Begun’s donation and the educational programs, contact Kilkenny at 571-286-2796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.