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John Robson (1941 - 2009)

John Robson grew up in a small coal mining town in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. He's grateful that a second generation German-American, Elizabeth Welker, who held a masters degree in piano performance from the Cinncinnati College Conservatory of Music devoted her life to teaching young Appalachian children the joys of piano playing. She was altruistically dedicated to this task. Miss Welker considered John one of her most promising students.

John began studying piano at eight years of age. He was reticent about playing the piano publicly as most of the local people in the mountains of West Virginia at that time thought it was very strange for a young boy to be interested in classical music. In high school John accompanied a very active chorus which performed approximately eighty concerts per year including a weekly radio program. John got the chorus accompanist position because he was quite proficient at sight reading.

After graduating high school, John moved with his family to Miami, Florida where he graduated from the University of Miami School of Music. There he studied piano with Jeffrey Stoll and Rosalina Sackstein. He also studied at Indiana University School of Music under Alfonso Montesino, a student of Claudio Arrau,.

Later, John, being somewhat of a perfectionist, dropped the piano because he grew frustrated at not having enough time to devote to practice. He went back to school and majored in English. He taught English and journalism in the public schools of Miami-Dade County for 35 years before becoming ill in 1999 with what was diagnosed as a fatal illness. However, as fate would have it, he received a liver transplant saving his life in 2005.

With his new lease on life, John asked himself what he would really like to do in the autumn of his life. He immediately thought of the piano. He began practicing again as he recovered from his organ transplant. He hadn't played the piano in over thirty years. John is still somewhat of a closet pianist. He does not play for anyone. However, he did make CD's for his close friends and family, and often included interesting and informative personal commentary on the music.

John passed away on june 13, 2009, after a short battle with lung cancer - despite having stopped smoking some 30 years ago. His participation in Piano Society meant a lot to him, as it did to us. We will miss him.

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