Thornton School of Music violin professor Alice Schoenfeld donated $7 million to the school on Friday to establish the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Endowed Scholarship Fund for Strings Students, a scholarship to support violin and cello students.
Schoenfeld also gave a $3 million endowment in October 2012 to name and renovate the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall, the school’s symphonic rehearsal space. The facility was renovated during the summer of 2012, adding an updated sounding system and audio and video recording capabilities.
Schoenfeld’s total donation of $10 million is the largest gift ever given by a long-standing faculty member. Schoenfeld’s contribution is also the largest gift to date for Thornton’s $75 million fundraising initiative, which kicked off Friday. The initiative is part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a $6 billion fundraising effort.
Schoenfeld has taught violin instruction and performance for more than 50 years at USC and currently holds the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Endowed Chair in String Instruction.
The scholarship fund is named in honor of Shoenfeld’s sister, Eleonore, a cello professor at the Thornton School who died in 2007. The two sisters, known as the Schoenfeld Duo, toured internationally for decades. Schoenfeld made her debut at age 10 with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Before her death in 2007, Eleanore Schoenfeld was a professor at Thornton and the holder of the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello.
The $10 million donation is the second-largest gift Thornton has ever received, second to philanthropist Flora Thornton’s $25 million gift to name the school in 1999.
Schoenfeld hopes her donation will encourage future generations of musicians to strive for excellence and to really commit to their craft.
“True excellence in performance requires long hours, and the more support students can receive, the more they will be able to excel,” Schoenfeld said to USC News. “Performance and competition opportunities around the globe are invaluable in honing their craft and teaching them about the demands of a professional life.”