Chair, Strings (Preparatory School); Violin; Orchestral Repertoire (BSO principal)
Marylou Speaker Churchill (1945–2009) joined the NEC Preparatory School violin faculty in 1981, and was chair of the Preparatory School strings department from the mid-'80s through the 1990s. She taught studio lessons and orchestral repertoire classes in the College from the 1990s until 2009, and was increasingly active as a teacher at the College level following her retirement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2000. At Commencement 2006, Churchill received NEC's Louis and Adrienne Krasner Teaching Excellence Award.
Churchill joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops in 1970 and was appointed to the position of principal second violin in 1977, a position she held through her retirement in 2000. Upon her retirement, the principal chair went to her former student Haldan Martinson '97 M.M.
During her three decades with the BSO, Churchill worked extensively with William Steinberg, Erich Leinsdorf, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Klaus Tennstedt, James Levine, and Andre Previn. She was a violinist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players from 1993 until 2000, touring in Europe and South America, and recording with them the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2000. In the summer of 2001, she was the violinist in the world premier at Tanglewood of Portraits for soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano by Richard Danielpour with Cynthia Hayman, William Hudgins, Yo-Yo Ma, and Emanuel Ax.
Churchill was invited by Sir George Solti to be faculty and principal second violin of the Carnegie Hall Solti Project in 1994, and a year later, he invited her to lead the second violins in the "Musicians of the World" orchestra concert held in Geneva, Switzerland, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
Marylou Churchill gave numerous recitals across the United States, and appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart, and orchestras in Brazil, Japan, and the U.S., as well as the Ural Philharmonic (Russia) under Sarah Caldwell as part of a tour of the Soviet Union.
In addition to her teaching at NEC, Churchill coached for The New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach, Florida, and was a violin coach for the Asian Youth orchestra in Hong Kong and at youth festivals in New Zealand and the U.S.
Churchill was married to conductor, cellist, and NEC dean Mark Churchill, and they have twin daughters.
B.M. with honors, NEC. Violin with Joseph Silverstein, Catherine Peterson, Raphael Spiro, and Eudice Shapiro. Chamber music with Eugene Lehner, William Kroll, Felix Galimir, Alexander Schneider, and Robert Mann. Faculty of Tanglewood Music Center, Musicorda Summer Chamber Music Program at Mount Holyoke College, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Heifetz Institute.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut
To listen to a 1978 NEC performance of Giovanni Bottesini's Grand Duo Concertante, performed by Marylou Speaker Churchill, violin, Lawrence Wolfe, double bass, and Susan Almasi Mandel, piano, go to the NEC home page and open up the music player—the track will show up under "Bottseni" in the alphabetical track list.
Friends of Marylou Speaker Churchill is an open Facebook group through which Churchill received messages and memories during her final days. Mark Churchill writes, "We encourage you to continue to share your remembrances and stories with each other and with us. Together all of the postings from this group provide a wonderful portrait of our dear Marylou. This will only become richer as new people join and add to the collection."