Service Award For Hans Tausig

Albert Mell

When Hans Tausig was elected president of the Violin Society of America in 1984, he already enjoyed a reputation for his pro bono work on behalf of other organizations. This record augured well for his success as head of the VSA. But neither Hans nor the membership realized at that time that his tenure as President would extend to five full terms, covering a span of ten years. Members of the society are aware that perhaps the most important of the president's activities is the planning and running of the annual conventions. But every other year, the conventions are also the occasion of international competitions for new instruments and bows. It is hard to believe that the Oakland meeting is the eleventh of these competitions, and a large measure of the credit for the success of the last five is due to Hans: his organizational skills, problem-solving abilities, unflagging energy and patience. Five convention/ competitions have taken place during his administration: Portland in 1986; Minneapolis in 1988; Albuquerque in 1990; Carlisle in 1992; and finally, Oakland in 1994. What a signal record of achievement. However, Hans's achievements go far beyond the usual expected activities of a VSA president. For many years the society had wanted to purchase the violin library of Herbert Goodkind, but lacked the financial resources to do so. In 1986 the Goodkind estate placed that library on the market.

Hans had the brilliant idea of purchasing the library jointly with Oberlin College, with the college to provide a permanent home for the collection. The plan was implemented and this superb bibliographical resource is now available to musicians, makers and all those interested in the works of stringed instruments and their bows. In the Summer of 1987 the Violin Society and Oberlin College collaborated on a second project initiated by Hans: a stringed instrument workshop in restoration under the direction of Vahakn Nigogosian. The society provided the funds, participated in the selection of students and helped to organize the program. Oberlin College, the sponsoring institution, has provided the working facilities as well as administrative and secretarial help. The workshop has a distinguished staff as well as guest lecturers and a student body that comes from all over the world. This Summer will mark the ninth year of its highly successful operation. Early in 1994, Hans told the board of directors that he felt it was time for the VSA to choose a new president. After ten years and five competitions, he did not feel burnt out. However, he felt a new president would bring fresh ideas, imagination, and leadership both to the office and the society. Hans assures us he is retiring from the office of president, not from the society. He will continue to serve on the board of directors and will be an active worker in the organization. He will now, however, have more time to spend on his family, personal matters and, above all, the playing of chamber music he loves so much. The board and members of the Violin Society wish to express their thanks and appreciation for Hans Tausig's 10 years of service with the presentation of a plaque. Designed by Kurt Widenhouse, this plaque consists of a center section of a violin top with its sound holes and four comers. It is made of a piece of Engelmann spruce, covered with a beautiful varnish, and is mounted on a piece of handsomely flamed American maple. The inscription reads as follows:

In Appreciation - Hans Tausig
President of The Violin Society of America - 1984 to 1994