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Posted by ESA Administrator, written by Mark George, President & CEO Music Institute of Chicago on 27 June 2016

We are greatly saddened to report the death of Gilda Barston. 

Gilda BarstonGilda meant so much to so many people, it is difficult to express the impact of her parting.  In over forty years of teaching at the Music Institute of Chicago she was a friend, mentor, leader and advocate for the highest standards in music education.  Her legacy as a teacher and teacher trainer is immense. In the face of tremendous adversity her dedication and love for her students was an inspiration to us all.

Her accomplishments are many.  Gilda was an artist level cellist who studied with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School.  As a strong advocate of the Suzuki Philosophy, she served as Chair of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, CEO of the International Suzuki Association and Director and Artistic Director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute.  Gilda was a celebrated teacher of teachers, training and mentoring hundreds of young cellists who have spread about the world to become leaders in their field.

But mostly, Gilda was a teacher who loved her students and their families, challenging them to be the best they could be, nurturing them to become good musicians and good people. Her example was a constant source of inspiration for all who knew her. She will be terribly missed.

The Barston Family has finalised the plans for Gilda's memorial service 

Sunday, July 3, 1 pm
Music Institute of Chicago
Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

In lieu of flowers, the Barston family requests that you consider making a donation to one of these causes that were close to Gilda’s heart and reflect her profound impact on the world.

The Barston Suzuki Center to support Suzuki Teacher Training and continuing education for the Suzuki faculty at the Music institute of Chicago.
Cheques may be written to the Barston Suzuki Center and mailed to Music Institute of Chicago, 1702 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201 or:

Due to the commitment and leadership of Gilda Barston, the Music Institute of Chicago has one of the largest, most comprehensive, and highly regarded Suzuki programs in the country. The Barston Suzuki Center is a model program for engaging teachers and musicians in the Suzuki method and provides long-term teacher training and educational seminars, scholarship for teachers and continuing education support for MIC faculty. Through the Music Institute of Chicago’s Suzuki Education division, trained Suzuki faculty provide the highest quality private and group class instruction.  Suzuki instruction is available for piano, violin, viola, cello, bass flute, guitar, harp and recorder.  The internationally recognised Suzuki method is based on the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki that talent and musicianship can be developed in any child.  Numerous class and solo performance opportunities are offered throughout the year.

The Gilda Barston Cello Scholarship for cellists studying at the Music Institute of Chicago.
Checks may be written to the Music Institute of Chicago and mailed to Music Institute of Chicago, 1702 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201 or:

The Gilda Barston Legacy Scholarship Fund established by the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) to support Suzuki teacher education in the Americas. Checks may be written to SAA and mailed to SAA, PO Box 17310, Boulder, CO 80308. For online donations, please go to and select Gilda Barston Legacy Scholarship Fund.