Violinist and conductor Pamela Gearhart passed away Sunday July 6 2014 in Rochester, New York. She was 79 years old. She is survived by her three children, Kim, Martha, and Fritz.
Pamela Gearhart was born July 21, 1934 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Her father, Russell Gerhart, was also a violinist and conductor. He founded the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and served as conductor of the Huntsville, Alabama Civic Symphony and the St, Louis Philharmonic. Pamela began her five years of studies at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at age fifteen. Her violin instructors included Mischa Mischakoff, Joseph Knitzer, Ivan Galamian and Efrem Zimbalist.
Pamela married UB Music Department faculty member Livingston Gearhart in 1955 and joined the department as a part-time instructor of violin in 1957. She eventually expanded her responsibilities to include directing the chamber music performance program and conducting the UB orchestra. During the years 1959-1977 Pamela also served as the conductor of the youth orchestra of Buffalo’s Community Music School. Under her direction the membership of the orchestra increased ten-fold, from ten to more than one hundred.
Following her position at UB, Pamela served on the music faculty at Ithaca College until her retirement in 1993. Through all her years of work as an inspired music educator Pamela brought alive the joy of music for hundreds of young students and shaped the musical lives and careers of many successful musicians.