A Generous Gift Inspired by a Musical Family

Irene Schultz and the Kraeuter Scholarships

Irene Schultz and Seth Biagini

Augustus Juilliard Society member Irene Schultz, with Seth Biagini, the first recipient of the Phyllis M. Kraeuter Scholarship in Cello.

Augustus Juilliard Society members have many different ties to the School, and each of their Juilliard stories is unique. For member Irene Schultz, her connection to the School began many years ago, thanks to her friendship with a musical family with a long Juilliard history.

A native New Yorker, Irene Schultz was raised in Queens and spent her career at Mutual of New York, a financial services company. While a young professional, she decided to study cello and began private lessons with Phyllis Kraeuter, one of three siblings who graduated from and taught at Juilliard. A close friendship developed between Irene and the entire Kraeuter family, including Phyllis' brother, Karl, a noted violinist, and sister Leonore, a gifted pianist.

Tragically, Phyllis and Karl were involved in a car accident in 1964, which took Phyllis's life and seriously injured Karl. Irene remained close to Karl and Leonore for the rest of their lives. At Karl's passing in 1986, he left a generous gift in his will to The Juilliard School to endow a violin scholarship. Since then, his legacy gift has helped many young artists receive a Juilliard education, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Inspired by what Karl did for Juilliard in his estate, Irene Schultz decided to create a second Kraeuter scholarship at Juilliard, this one in honor of her teacher. She endowed the Phyllis M. Kraeuter Scholarship in Cello, which was first awarded to Seth Biagini, a master's degree student from Los Angeles, and she later extended her generosity to begin a third Kraeuter scholarship, this one in piano, in memory of Leonore Kraeuter. Irene plans to continue providing financial support during her lifetime and in her estate for these scholarships.

Irene plans to continue providing financial support during her lifetime and in her estate for the violin scholarship Karl established, as well as for the cello scholarship she created to honor Phyllis. In addition, she plans to extend her generosity to begin a third Kraeuter scholarship, this one in piano, in memory of Leonore Kraeuter.

The Kraeuters at Juilliard

All three Kraeuter siblings came to New York to study at the Institute of Musical Art (Juilliard's precursor). Karl Kraeuter began in 1913 at age 15, studying violin with Hans Letz, chamber music with Franz Kneisel, and composition with Percy Goetschius. He received undergraduate and graduate diplomas in violin, one in music education, as well as a certificate in composition.

Phyllis Kraeuter, Karl Kraeuter, composer, pianist

Phyllis Kraeuter (far left) and Karl Kraeuter (far right) discuss Aaron Copland’s “Vitebsk“ Trio with the composer (second from right) and pianist Grant Johannesen, before a Town Hall performance.

Karl was a member of the Juilliard faculty from 1926 to 1941 and was president of the Alumni Association in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He had a long and noteworthy career, focused primarily on the performance of chamber music.

Phyllis Kraeuter entered Juilliard in 1918 at age 12. She studied cello with Willem Willeke and chamber music with Franz Kneisel, attaining two diplomas in cello and one in music education. In 1926, at age 20, she received the Walter M. Naumburg Music Foundation Prize, the first cellist to win this prestigious award.

For 30 years she taught cello and chamber music in Juilliard's Preparatory Division (now Pre-College Division). Phyllis had a distinguished career as a soloist and a chamber music performer. With the creation of the Kraeuter Duo, Kraeuter Trio and Kraeuter Quartet with her brother Karl, ensemble playing became the primary focus of both their careers.

Leonore Kraeuter, Phyllis Kraeuter and Karl Kraeuter

(Left to right) Leonore Kraeuter, Phyllis Kraeuter and Karl Kraeuter

Leonore Kraeuter entered Juilliard in 1918 at age 17 and received diplomas in piano and music education. She was a student of Gaston Dethier and James Friskin, and also taught in Juilliard's Preparatory Division. She eventually left her Juilliard teaching post and established a private studio, while continuing to perform with her siblings in concerts with the Kraeuter Trio and Quartet.

While no longer playing the cello herself, Irene Schultz satisfies her passion for classical music by attending as many concerts as she can fit into her schedule, with a special commitment to anything performed at Juilliard, including individual student recitals.

As a nonprofessional singer, she performed under choral director Harold Rosenbaum (a former Juilliard faculty member) on many of his summer choral tours to Europe and Canada. For 14 years she served on the board of his choral organization, Canticorum Virtuosi, Inc. A past member of the Westchester Oratorio Society, Irene still sings in the Inspirational Choir of Riverside Church. She is a talented visual artist and recently had a solo exhibition of her silverpoint drawings at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.

"With so many of my activities focused on the arts," Irene says, "I felt the need to strengthen my philanthropic efforts in support of the arts. Originally, I planned to establish the Phyllis M. Kraeuter Scholarship in Cello as part of my estate, but decided to start it while still alive. I had a delightful visit with the first recipient, Seth Biagini, at a Juilliard event. I plan to follow his career and also look forward to meeting future recipients and following their progress."

The Juilliard School is deeply grateful to Irene Schultz for her generosity and foresight in carrying on the Kraeuter legacy, and is honored that students will study here with scholarship assistance in the names of these important musicians from the School's history. To learn how you can follow in Irene's footsteps or give a gift to the School in honor of a loved one, contact Lori Padua at lpadua@juilliard.edu or (212) 799-5000, ext. 7152.