Marion Barnum

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

Marion P. Barnum, professor of music at Iowa State University, served on the Iowa State faculty from 1971-1988 and was the chair of the piano division. She was born May 12, 1926 in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. She received her musical education at the Juilliard School in New York City where she received the Diploma and the Post-Graduate Diploma and where she studied with the famed Mme. Rosina Lhevinne.

She subsequently attended the University of Iowa, receiving the Master of Fine Arts and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. She taught at Knoxville College in Tennessee and the University of Missouri Columbia before coming to Iowa State.

Marion Barnum performed to critical acclaim throughout the world, giving concerts in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, France, Austria, Spain, the Soviet Union, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Czechoslovakia. Her playing will be remembered for its elegance, sensitivity, and beauty of tone. She was well-known in Iowa, not only for her solo and ensemble performances, but also for workshops, lectures, and as a judge of contests and auditions.

Dr. Barnum was an enthusiastic advocate of the piano music of J.N. Hummel. Her interest in Hummel began when she was a doctoral student at the University of Iowa where she selected the composer and his work as the topic for her dissertation. She revived Hummel's virtuoso Sonata in F# minor as part of her doctoral dissertation and later performed it in New York City, Vienna Bratislava (Hummel's birthplace), and at the International Conference of the European Piano Teachers Association in England. She was the featured artist at the inaugural concert of the Hummel Classical Foundation in 1980 and featured guest at the 1982 Hummel Festival at Rutgers University. She gave a session on Hummel's early keyboard music at the 1982 national convention of the music Teachers National Association. In 1981 she brought to fruition a plan of long-standing-a performance of all six Hummel Sonatas for piano.

She was a devoted teacher, remembered for her unselfish contribution of time and talents for encouragement of the highest quality in piano performance and music education, particularly the warm support she gave students in her studio. She was an active supporter of many community musical organizations and had served on the board of directors of the Town and Gown Chamber Music Association and the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association.

In addition to her professional interests and contributions, Marion Barnum took an active interest in issues of national and world affairs, lobbying those in leadership and sharing for concerns with colleagues and friends. She was a deeply religious person and member of the First Church of Christ Scientist. She died on April 4, 1988.


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Marion Barnum
Fannie Buchanan
Louise Hamilton
Ilza Niemack"