The Augsburg Music Departments is raising money for Augsburg University.
The Warmth and Generosity of Mary Roberts Wilson Continues in a Musical Legacy for Future Students
Mary Elizabeth Roberts Wilson (July 29, 1916 - June 6, 2014) was Augsburg’s beloved flute teacher for 1969 until 1989. In addition to all the lives she touched during her tenure as a member of Augsburg's music faculty, Mary was a long-standing pillar of the local flute community, serving as Adjunct Flute Instructor at Bethel, Hamline, Northwestern, and the Colleges of St. Thomas and St. Catherine, as well as maintaining a private studio and teaching all ages and levels of flutists well into her eighties. Mary was the original Principal Flutist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and also played with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. She was an active member of the National Flute Association and the Upper Midwest Flute Association, which awarded her an UMFA Lifetime Membership in recognition for all the contributions she had made to that organization.
Mary enjoyed performing and frequently gave flute recitals at Augsburg, where she always performed with pianist, Jim Johnson. Jim was a giant of a man, as big as Mary was tiny. The juxtaposition of the two of them on stage was so extreme, it was almost comical. In spite of her diminutive stature, though, when Mary brought her flute to her lips, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who was in charge up there. Some time during the early eighties, Mary announced her intention to retire; soon after, she presented her retirement recital, which included many of her favorite pieces. The following year, Mary and Jim presented another recital, with Mary announcing from the stage that this was her 2nd Annual Retirement Recital.
She taught for so many years, at so many places, and influenced so many flutists, that there are now glimmers of Mary Roberts Wilson literally all over the world. Teaching every kind of student, from Jeanne Baxtresser – the local girl who ended up as the principal flutist of the NY Phil - to working with the young campers at the International Music Camp in North Dakota, Mary reached so many. If one were to think about the ripple effect she had – imagining all of Mary’s students, and all the students of Mary’s students, then the magnitude of what she accomplished borders the unimaginable.
The Mary Roberts Wilson Memorial Scholarship endeavors to continue Mary’s legacy in passing on to current and future Augsburg musicians the discipline, the camaraderie and the passion of music-making that she shared with all those fortunate enough to have journeyed with her.