Ilza Niemack

Honored by:The Music Department
Brick location:PAVER:22  map

Iowa State University Professor Emeritus Ilza Niemack joined the Department of Music faculty in 1935 as concert-mistress with the Iowa State Symphony. She performed and taught violin, viola and chamber music at ISU until her retirement in 1973.

She was born April 8, 1903, in Charles City, Iowa, and made her unofficial "debut" at the age of 3 at a family Christmas gathering in her home. She began making public appearances at the age of 5 and by the time she was 9 she was performing in the concert halls of Chicago and Minneapolis.

Her New York debut was at age 18 and following this performance, she toured Germany and England, performing with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Hamburg Symphony. In the United States, she appeared with the New York, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Minneapolis symphony orchestras. She performed recitals with such legendary pianists as Rudolph Ganz, Gunnar Johannsen, John Simms and Egon Petri.

Miss Niemack received her early violin instruction from her father, Julius Niemack, on a quarter-sized violin and later studied at the Chicago Musical College. She studied for six years with Samatini and for three years with the great master Leopold Auer in New York.

Before her New York debut, she acquired an Amati violin made in 1655, an instrument she used for the rest of her life.

As a tribute to Miss Niemack, the Department of Music through the J. W. Fisher Trust commissioned Ned Rorem to write a work for her (for violin and piano), which Niemack premiered in 1973.

Miss Niemack began composing in the 1960's, writing many works for violin in combination with other instruments.

She retired to Sedona, Arizona, where she continued to perform and compose until her death on July 12, 1993.


Paver Inscription:

Marion Barnum
Fannie Buchanan
Louise Hamilton
Ilza Niemack"