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Last modified: Monday, March 24, 2008

Helga Winold

President's Award

Professor of Music
Jacobs School of Music
University Graduate School
Indiana University Bloomington
Appointed to IU faculty, 1969
D.M., Indiana University, 1967

"She has been a most effective and tireless advocate for the violoncello . . . its repertoire, performance, pedagogy, and lore. She has inspired countless students with these aspects of her professional love of the instrument."

--Lawrence P. Hurst, Chair of the String Department, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Bloomington

For Helga Winold, teaching chamber music ensembles is a distinctive experience. "Nowhere else in music do we learn more about precision, timing, listening to each partner, and working together effectively," she says. "We need to perform with authority and character, but totally in the service of the wonderful works that we are performing."

Authority, character, and dedication are hallmarks of Winold's teaching. For nearly 40 years, she has devoted herself to training exceptional performers and music teachers, generously drawing on her masterful musical knowledge, research, and experience as a performer.

The first IU graduate to earn a Doctor of Music in cello, Winold created two courses in cello literature that examine the cello's development, literature, and performance practice from its beginnings into the twenty-first century. Her cello literature and pedagogy courses draw students throughout the Jacobs School of Music -- including violinists, violists, bass players, and the occasional brass player -- who seek Winold's wisdom to broaden their understanding and discover new approaches. And of course, she instructs students privately in cello performance.

"She is a masterful private teacher of cello, who is able not only to inspire students by precept and example, but also to analyze students' technical and musical problems and work with them to reach viable solutions for these problems," says Distinguished Professor of Music Janos Starker, Winold's mentor.

Outside the studio, Winold is a willing resource for IU music students. She serves on more than 20 doctoral committees and for the past decade has advised incoming graduate students in all of the string instruments. "I have never seen or heard of Dr. Winold turning away a student asking for her help," says doctoral candidate Cara Miller.

"My first time meeting Professor Winold was during my junior year of high school when I came to IU for a visit and lesson," says Carrie Bean, one of Winold's students. "From that time -- this was over six years ago -- I knew that she was an exceptional teacher, and when I auditioned in Bloomington again five years later, she still remembered my name and our contact from before. She shares what she has so generously with all students, and in return earns the highest respect from students and colleagues alike."

Winold is a highly respected researcher and performer who has played solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Her research specializes in the analysis of movement in string playing and the translation of thought into movement. She and IU psychology professor Esther Thelen used computers to track and analyze students' movements as they played the cello, leading to improved instruction, articles in scientific journals such as The Journal of Ecological Psychology, and an interdisciplinary course on the interaction of brain and body. Winold is a consultant to the Institute of Music and Medicine at the Freiburg University of Music in Germany.

In a letter from 1986 in support of Winold's tenure, Professor of Composition John C. Eaton wrote, "Just seeing her in the halls makes me feel the best in music is somehow possible." Although Winold is soon retiring from IU and will walk the Jacobs School's halls less frequently, the possibility of "the best in music" will live on in the accomplishments of her students, who have joined orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and have become teachers at IU, the University of Pennsylvania, the Freiburg University of Music, and elsewhere.

"My greatest joy has been working with so many talented students with such varied backgrounds," Winold says. "There was never a lesson where I did not learn something from each of them. I can honestly say that I did my very best to help them accomplish what they were seeking to do."