The Legacy of Madame Anna E. Schoen-René
Madame Anna E. Schoen-René
She came to the United States in 1872 to sing with the Metropolitan Opera. But before she set foot on the stage, a bout with tuberculosis ravaged her body and ended her singing career.
Madame Anna E. Schoen-René had trained at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin, admitted by a panel that included Johannes Brahms. She made her concert debut in Paris under the patronage of Charles Gounod. And now her doctors were telling her she was a hopeless consumptive.
Undeterred, a 98-pound Schoen-René moved to Minneapolis to live with a sister who taught at the University of Minnesota, where she became a singing instructor, still determined to bring quality music to the U.S. Starting with university glee clubs, she later founded what would become the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra of St. Paul. She came back to New York in 1925 to direct the voice department at Juilliard. Schoen-René taught the greats, including the legendary Kitty Carlisle and Paul Robeson, until the end of her distinguished career.
In her will, she left a fund in The Trust to help talented vocalists further their studies, and since 1942, we have fulfilled her musical legacy. A recent grant of $37,000 to the Metropolitan Opera Association is helping to cultivate the next generation of opera singers, and a grant of $38,000 to The Juilliard School of Music for the Schoen-René loan fund will helps students pay for tuition, living expenses, medical emergencies, and study abroad. As Julliard’s director of foundation and corporate relations Edward Sien puts it, “the fund enables students to make the most of their extraordinary talents, pursue their careers in the performing arts, and not have their dreams derailed by unexpected financial burdens.”