In her 31-year career at Harvard, music Professor Luise Vosgerchian managed to teach world-class performers in tutorials one minute, and teach Harvard students in packed core classes the next.
Now that she's leaving, her colleagues, students and former proteges are sorry to see her go, and say her retirement will be "a great loss to the University."
"She was one of the best teachers I've ever had," said Yo-Yo Ma '76, an internationally renowned cellist whom Vosgerchian taught. "She finds the very best in students and nurtures that in them. She is a wonderful teacher and friend."
"She was a magnificent colleague," said Leon Kirschner, a prominent Harvard music professor who retired last year. "She is an extraordinary teacher and a wonderful companion."
Vosgerchian, known better to undergraduates as the teacher of Literature and Arts B-59, "Piano Music of the 19th Century: The Shorter Forms," said in a recent interview that she was leaving because "the time came," and "change was inevitable."
"She has been a major contributor to the music department," said Professor Lewis Lockwood, who chairs the Music Department. "She is an outstanding teacher of undergraduates on the Harvard scene."
"Everybody loved her," said Linda Levin '93, who last semester took Lit and Arts B-56, "Structure and Form Through Music and Movement," which Vosgerchian co-taught. "She was funny, fun, energetic, and inspiring."
Students and colleagues of Vosgerchian said that the key to her success as a teacher was her genuine love of undergraduates.
"She wants the students to love music as much as she does," said Meg Mertz, the head teaching fellow of Lit. and Arts B-59. "Her main focus in teaching is her love of undergraduates and her committment to teaching music."
Although Vosgerchian will retire from teaching, she said she does not plan to stop working since, she says, even a world-class music instructor can find some pieces challenging.
"There are certain works I've been dying to perform," Vosgerchian said. "For one, Gaspard de la Nuit, by Ravel. I'd also love to be able to play the second etude by Chopin at 6 a.m. perfectly without being warmed up."
Vosgerchian also plans to lecture and perform solo and chamber works across the United States and Europe.