Dr. William C. Race, Priscilla Flawn
Regents Professor of Piano at The University of Texas at Austin, died
June 22, 1999. He was born in Denver, Colorado, on November 28, 1923.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine Parmelee Race, son Charles,
son Stephen and daughter-in-law Carolyn Cantu, daughter Susan and
son-in-law Kevin Groves, and granddaughter Kathleen Groves.
Dr. Race was a member of the keyboard faculty
at The University of Texas for thirty-two years, and served as its
chair for twenty years, during which time he was largely responsible
for establishing the national and international prestige of the piano
faculty and its programs. His highly-regarded reputation as artist/teacher
was complemented by an acclaimed career as soloist, chamber musician,
collaborator, and, in later years, duo pianist with his daughter,
Susan Groves. Always a favorite performer on the University campus,
he concertized all over the United States, as well as in Europe and
Asia. His Town Hall, New York City, debut heralded an important career
that won admiration and respect from performers and teachers in all
musical circles, including major national and international schools
of music. He received accolades from prestigious critics in New York
and Los Angeles, and in many other important locales, and recorded
an impressive range of piano literature.
Dr. Race recruited students from all over this
country and abroad and enabled many exceptional talents from mainland
China to study at the University. His achievements as a teacher brought
him his greatest pleasure; he especially loved teaching high school
students in the summer workshop. The relationships he maintained with
his students showed a special rapport that was mutual and deeply rewarding.
Numerous students have distinguished careers of their own, teaching
at important music schools in the United States and concertizing in
major music centers worldwide. Many of them have won international
competitions. As a legacy to his expert training, they carry on an
important tradition which reaches near and far.
Among his honors, Dr. Race held the Doty Professorship
in Fine Arts at The University of Texas and an Honorary Professorship
from the Sichuan Conservatory in China. He was included in Benjamin
Saver's book The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the U.S.A
Angeles, California: Xin Hua Ma Publishing, 1993). Dr. Race was invited
to present master classes at many of the most important music schools
in this country, and at top conservatories in China, Poland, the former
USSR, Germany, and Japan. He hosted visits to Austin by music teachers
from the Sichuan Conservatory and taught a workshop on campus for
forty visiting Taiwanese piano teachers. Prior to his fatal illness,
he had been invited to participate as artist/teacher in the Van Cliburn
Teachers Institute in Fort Worth, Texas, and he still planned
to teach The University of Texas High School Piano Performance Workshop
a month later in July.
After his childhood, spent in Hays, Kansas,
Dr. Race studied at the University of Colorado for one year, whereupon
his studies were interrupted by World War II. An avid skier, he enlisted
in the Ski Troops and served in Northern Italy. Following his discharge,
he returned to Colorado and earned his BM degree with high honors
(1948) and MM degree (1950). In 1958, he earned his DMA degree in
a record 15-month period from the University of Michigan. He held
teaching positions at Colorado Womans College, Mississippi State
College for Women, Northern Illinois University, and North Texas State
College (now the University of North Texas), before coming to The
University of Texas in 1967. Among his proudest accomplishments since
coming to Austin were the initiation of The University of Texas High
School Piano Performance Workshop, the establishment of the Fund for
Chinese Pianists, and his extensive and successful initiative to approach
legislators, gather statewide support, and secure passage of a bill
to award waivers of out-of-state tuition to selected scholarship holders.
Since the passage of this bill in 1971, waivers worth more than $8,000,000
have been given by the School of Music.
Additional mention is made of his activities
as a columnist to the Piano Guild Notes
and the American
. As critic, his activities were diverse, running
the gamut from a review of Kenneth Drakes The Beethoven Sonatas
and the Creative Experience
(Bloomington, Indiana, 1994) to a
Byelorussian magazine article about the recordings of contemporary
Byelorussian piano music.
Dr. Race loved hiking, color photography, nature,
and the outdoors. The Race family spent many summer vacations in the
mountains of Colorado, Washington, and Canada. He and his wife Kay
traveled to many breathtaking places, ranging from the Swiss Alps
to the Himalayas, and their travels were documented through his striking
photography in works of high quality.
A memorial tribute was held at Bates Recital
Hall on July 8, 1999, attended by many former students, as well as
a large number of Austin music lovers, colleagues, UT music students,
and friends. Family, colleagues, former piano students, and friends
gave testimony, through spoken and written words and music performance,
to a man who will long be remembered for his dedication and compassion,
for his devotion to his profession, for his humor, for his thoughtfulness,
and for his tremendous energy and zest for life. Perhaps the highlight
of the tribute was the broadcast of William Races masterful
performance of Chopins Barcarolle, reminding all in attendance
of his exceptional artistry and poetic gift. Bill Race was remembered
bounding up the stairs two and three at a time, jogging, whistling,
and jiggling his keys. Amidst all his accomplishments, he always had
time for his family, his dog, and his perfect lawn. He never wanted
to retire, and he never had to. He was an inspiration to those whose
lives he touched and he will be missed by all. The William Race Memorial
Scholarship Fund, UT School of Music, Austin, Texas 78712, has been
established in his name.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee
consisting of Professors Danielle J. Martin (chair), Gerard H.
and John W. Grubbs.
Distributed to the Dean of the College
of Fine Arts, the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the President
on December 17, 1999. Copies are available on request from the Office
of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500. This resolution is posted under "Memorials" at: http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/