Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Virginia Mackie

Virginia F. Mackie


Honored June, 1985

Virginia F. Mackie

From her earliest years, the piano was part of Virginia Mackie's life. Taught to play at age three by her mother, at age ninety-four she was still practicing every day. Not only a pianist, Virginia also played the harpsichord, the Indian flute, and the recorder, as well as being a teacher of great influence.

"I've taught all my life," said the Kansas native. Through the years she taught over one thousand students. At the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Virginia taught piano, music theory, and ear training for twenty-five years. During this time she also accompanied dance groups, directed two choruses, played chamber music, and performed as a soloist, often with the local symphony. In addition, she taught at the University of Arizona and at the Yale School of Music for eighteen years. John Crosby, founder of the Santa Fe Opera, was one of her Yale students.

Her own distinguished training included a bachelor's degree in piano from Wellesley College, where she earned her Phi Beta Kappa key, a master's degree from Columbia University, studies in London, and training in France with the renowned instructor Nadia Boulanger. Virginia was one of only two of Boulanger Ôs students to receive a degree in music theory pedagogy.

Virginia was grateful she first learned to play by ear and didn't read music until age five. Starting with church hymns, she found she could play "Christmas carols in any hand, any key."


Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes