Teresa Garbulinska Saykaly, noted pianist and philanthropist, dies

kward1@herald-leader.comMarch 12, 2012 

Teresa Garbulinska and Ronald Saykaly channeled their love of music into the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence Program.


Teresa Garbulinska Saykaly, 79, a noted concert pianist and Lexington arts philanthropist, died early Monday after a long illness.

Born in Poland, she won the Polish National Mozart Competition in 1956 and went on to perform throughout Europe and the United States, including at Carnegie Hall in New York.

She was a student of piano virtuoso Henryk Sztompka, who was a well-known student of Ignace Paderewski. As a result, her husband of 44 years, Dr. Ronald Saykaly, said, she was sometimes referred to as "the musical granddaughter of Paderewski."

After Mrs. Saykaly moved to Lexington in 1974, she provided support to various arts endeavors, often anonymously.

Her husband said she sponsored two ex libris programs at the University of Kentucky's William T. Young Library.

And the couple financed the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence Program between the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, which brings a composer to work with both groups every other year. The program's first formal commission was from composer Daniel Kellogg, who debuted a new work with the Philharmonic last month and wrote a piece for last summer's Chamber Music Festival.

UK HealthCare recently inaugurated the Teresa Garbulinska Annual Premier Concert Series.

"Words cannot express the sense of great loss this is for our community," Lexington Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell said in a statement. "Teresa was a wonderful friend to the entire LexPhil organization. Her passion for music and her devotion to the LexPhil were extraordinary.."

Although she was retired from concert performances, her husband said, Mrs. Saykaly continued to play for small groups after the couple moved here.

"People just loved to have her around. She was just vital, energetic," he said. "If you got to know her, you'd never forget her."

Memorial gatherings will be private. Clark Legacy Center is in charge of arrangements.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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