Louis Shub, 87, pianist who played with BSO, gave recitals at Goucher

November 16, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Louis J. Shub, a well-known concert pianist, music teacher and commentator, died Thursday of complications of lymphoma at Stella Maris Hospice at Mercy Medical Center. He was 87 and lived in Northwest Baltimore.

Mr. Shub, who was the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's staff pianist for 10 years, and his wife, actress Vivienne Shub, often appeared together in musical programs. They also were student advisers at Goucher College in the 1970s.

"He was very popular and accessible with the students," said former Goucher College President Rhoda Dorsey. "He was a man of broad interests and culture. His concerts reflected his own understanding of music and his appreciation of the piano repertoire."

Mr. Shub's musical talent was recognized when he was a young man. His piano concerts at the Peabody Conservatory began attracting critical praise in local newspapers when he was 17.

Mr. Shub made his professional debut at New York's Town Hall in 1947. The New York Times reviewer said his playing reflected "sensitivity nuance and artistic skill."

Born in Baltimore, he was a graduate of City College and the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Alexander Sklarevski.

After studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, he received an artist's diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He also had a master's degree in romance languages from the Johns Hopkins University.

In 1941, he married Vivienne Slovin, who survives him. When they appeared together, she gave dramatic readings on the composers' lives and he performed their works.

"The Shubs have pulled together an extraordinary world of romance and wonder and art," The Evening Sun commented in 1977.

A scholarly man, he spent hours reading about the lives of composers and then interpreted their music. For 30 years, he wrote the program notes at the Shriver Hall Concert Series at the Johns Hopkins University.

For nearly as long, he presented an annual group of piano recitals at Goucher College called "Three Sundays at Three," a reference to the time he went on stage. A number of these concerts were duo recitals with his daughter, Amy Shub Rothstein, who lives in McLean, Va.

In the late 1940s, he was active in local politics. He was chairman of a committee to abolish the state's Ober Law, which required candidates to submit to a loyalty oath. In 1950, he attempted to run for Maryland governor on the Progressive ticket and vigorously campaigned for the desegregation of the state's public colleges and universities. Because he refused to sign the Ober Law, he was prohibited from running for office.

During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Army and was stationed in North Africa and Italy, where he gave concerts for troops and civilians.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at Goucher College's Interdenominational Chapel, Towson.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, Daniel Shub of Cockeysville; another daughter, Judith Shub-Condliffe of Timonium; and six grandchildren.

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