At 90, pianist still striking a positive chord

Music in the Great Hall showcases founder Virginia Reinecke

  • The Virginia Reinecke Trio
The Virginia Reinecke Trio (Handout photo, Baltimore…)
April 07, 2011|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

"I was in love with music from the beginning," said Virginia Reinecke, who first played the piano at 6 and will give a performance Sunday at the age of 90. Make that 901/2 — she hit the big Nine-O last July.

The Baltimore-born, Peabody-trained Reinecke will be featured in a concert for Music in the Great Hall, the series she co-founded in 1974 and ran for its first 30 years. The series "had some bad times in the past, like any organization," she said, "but the board is stronger now and [artistic director] Lura Johnson is full of wonderful ideas."

For Sunday's "90th birthday gala celebration," Reinecke will collaborate with violinist Nicholas Currie and cellist Lukasz Szyrner in a program that includes Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio. The pianist added pieces by Loeillet de Gant and Karol Szymanowski to her repertoire for this program. "I do keep trying to learn," she said.

The gregarious, tireless Reinecke — Johnson calls her "nothing short of a force of nature" — still has several students; she has been teaching for six decades. Gov. Martin O'Malley issued a citation for her this week, praising the "wisdom and life experience" of "a beloved Marylander."

Reinecke, who often holds musical salons at her home, faced assorted health problems last year, but she shrugs them off. She'll probably still be playing at 100. "There are so many things I want to do," she said. "There are so many books I want to read yet. I want to write a book, too. I'm not going to quit if I can help it."

The concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road. $5-$20. Call 410-813-4255 or go to migh.org

Tim Smith

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