|Naegeli von Bergen Metcalf
The recipient of the 2006 GMTA Teacher of the
Year Award is Naegeli von Bergen Metcalf. Born in York, Nebraska,
Naegeli Metcalf began piano lessons at the age of seven with Mrs. Glen
George for $.50 a lesson. She moved to Lincoln at age nine and studied
with Ethel Owen until age eleven, when she began studying with Margaret
McGregor, who is still living at the age of 104. Mrs. McGregor taught
at the Beth Miller School of Piano and at age thirteen Beth Miller and
Margaret McGregor decided Naegeli should attend Rocky Ridge Music Center
near Estes Park, Colorado. This was the first of thirteen summers she
spent at the camp. As an older camper, Naegeli taught piano, theory and
was a chamber music coach. During this time she played duo piano
recitals with Robert Kelligar and also gave solo recitals.
When Naegeli was a senior in high school, she
began teaching in The Beth Miller School of Music. (An interesting
aside: Beth Miller was always very active in MTNA and was responsible
for starting the National High School Auditions. Beth Miller was also a
student of Josef Lhevinne, the acclaimed Russian pianist of the early
20th century.) Naegeli received the Nebraska Church School scholarship
that enabled her to attend Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she
continued studying with Beth Miller. While a student there, Naegeli won
the Lincoln Symphony Concerto Competition and performed the Liszt
Concerto in E-Flat Major with the orchestra. Many years later, Naegeli
was honored to receive the Nebraska Wesleyan University Music Alumni
Award of the Year (1991).
In 1953, Naegeli’s mother became ill with
cancer, and Naegeli stayed out of school for a year to care for her
mother. During this time, Naegeli continued teaching and became the
youngest MTNA Certified teacher in Nebraska. In 1954-55, Naegeli
attended The Juilliard School where she studied with James Friskin. At
Juilliard, only seniors were allowed to take piano pedagogy. But
because Naegeli had already taught for some years, she was allowed to
take the course. Naegeli returned to Nebraska Wesleyan University in
1955 and completed her music studies, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor
of Music degree with a major in piano performance.
Naegeli began graduate school at Indiana
University in 1957, where she received a Graduate Assistantship. She
studied with Bela Nagy and graduated with Highest Distinction. During
this time, Naegeli continued her private teaching and taught twelve
hours a week.
After completing her graduate studies, Naegeli
taught at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota from
1957-1964. While there, she had many outstanding students, including
Lillian Tan from Indonesia. Lillian went on to graduate studies at
Indiana University and holds a teaching position at the University of
Naegeli’s next college position brought her to
Georgia, where she taught at Wesleyan College in Macon from 1964-1969.
During this time, Naegeli held a variety of positions in GMTA and MTNA
including State Auditions Chair, Southern Division College Auditions
Chair, and even GMTA President! Two of her students at Wesleyan College
include GMTA member Nancy Dyes and noted pedagogue Jane Magrath. Even
though Jane only studied one year with Naegeli, that one year had a
lasting impact on her life, and she and Naegeli have stayed in touch
ever since. Several years ago Jane Magrath wrote an article for a piano
magazine about Naegeli’s teaching of adult students. Jane also listed
Naegeli in the Acknowledgements of her book, The Pianists’ Guide to
Standard Teaching and Performance Literature.
After marrying, Naegeli and her husband lived in
various locations in the southeastern United States and even in Germany
for several years before settling in Savannah, where she remains today.
Naegeli joined GMTA once again and began a private studio. She became
the Auditions Chair for the Savannah Symphony for several years. She
was asked to speak to several music groups in town and taught music
teachers groups. Naegeli was also asked to teach part-time at Armstrong
Atlantic State University during 1984 and 1985.
Naegeli still maintains a large studio of
children from pre-school through high school, as well as adult students.
During the 2005-2006 session, Naegeli taught fifty children and ten
adults. Her students have regularly participated in the Guild, GMTA
Auditions, GMEA All-State Piano Auditions, and concerto competitions, to
name a few. Through the years she has had many students receive top
ratings in auditions and competitions. As a 4th grader, Angie Chien won
the Savannah Symphony Concerto Competition. Kay Shields, Jody Krepel,
Maji Chien and Gina Florio have also been winners of the Savannah
Symphony Auditions. Angie and Maji Chien have both performed complete
concerti with the Beaufort Symphony. Alexander Zhang will perform with
the Beaufort Symphony in 2007. Christy Chu and Angelica Zhang were
winners in the 2004 Hilton Head Youth Orchestra Concerto competition.
In 2005, Maji Chien, Alexander Zhang, Gina Florio and Daniel Holliday
were all winners in the Hilton Head Youth Orchestra Competition and all
performed with the orchestra. Naegeli’s students have also played in
master classes for Seymour Bernstein, Alexander Peskanov, Marvin
Blickenstaff, Mordecai Shehori, and many others.
Congratulations to Naegeli von Bergen Metcalf on
being GMTA’s 2006 Teacher of the Year!
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