In Memoriam: Virginia Burkhart

Many McCormick graduates from the '60s through the '90s will remember Virginia. Married to one of our former theology professors, John Burkhart, her presence was music to our ears. She gave numerous solo and chamber performances at McCormick Theological Seminary and the Arts Club of Chicago. Virginia passed away on December 25, 2013.

Virginia attended Juilliard, where she and Van Cliburn won full-tuition scholarships to study with Rosina Lhévinne. While in New York, she met John Burkhart, a student at Union Theological Seminary. They fell in love and were married for fifty-eight years. Together they raised three children, but the music never stopped.

In 1955, Mrs. Burkhart began teaching piano privately. She was on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago in Winnetka and the Community School of the Arts at Wheaton College. From 1969-1976, she also served as president and manager of Contemporary Concerts, a trailblazing non-profit dedicated to bringing new music to Chicago. A featured soloist with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Mrs. Burkhart gave numerous solo and chamber performances at McCormick Theological Seminary and the Arts Club of Chicago. She was the choral accompanist for Francis W. Parker School. And she studied with pianists Menahem Pressler and Aloys Kontarsky.

Following "retirement" and the move with her husband to Galena and then Dubuque, she performed annual recitals at the University of Dubuque, benefit concerts for Galena's Grace Episcopal Church, and chamber music with the Prairie Music Club. Mrs. Burkhart is survived by her three beloved children, David (Deborah Shidler) Burkhart of San Bruno, CA; Audrey Burkhart of Chicago, IL; and Deborah (Scott) Haines of Santa Rosa, CA.

Share This Story

Thank you for spreading the word!