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Sandra Marguerite Munn

September 16, 1934

September 30, 2023

Professor Alexandra Munn, a renowned pianist and beloved figure, has left a deep void in the hearts of those who admired her. From a very young age, at just three years old, she displayed remarkable talent and was recognized as a prodigy. Alexandra possessed an exceptional skill for perfect pitch and had no equal when it came to sight reading. Her extraordinary abilities led to her acceptance into The Juilliard School, where she began her piano studies with Irwin Freundlich in 1953. Remarkably, she completed a four-year course in just two years, receiving an honorary scholarship. During her third year at Juilliard, Alexandra was offered a teaching fellowship with the prestigious piano faculty. However, the call of family and her hometown of Calgary compelled her to return.

In 1957, Alexandra made her debut with the Calgary Philharmonic, captivating audiences with her rendition of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3. The performance marked the beginning of a successful partnership, as she was invited back in 1958 to perform Rachmaninov’s No. 2 and later Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Over the summers from 1953 to 1959, Alexandra dedicated herself to coaching aspiring pianists and singers at the Banff School of Fine Arts, sharing her knowledge and nurturing future talents.

By 1962, Richard Eaton approached Alexandra and convinced her to join the University of Alberta as a teacher and mentor to pianists, inspiring them to surpass their own expectations. Additionally, she taught Art Song to singers and conducted the Richard Eaton Singers, even leading them on their first trip abroad to a festival in England. Alexandra played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Da Camera Singers. In 1992, after an illustrious career, she retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of Alberta. Not one to rest on her laurels, she continued to share her passion for music at Alberta College. There, Sandra thrived, educating students, organizing Art Song classes, and collaborating with other gifted musicians.

After her final retirement in 2018, Alexandra spearheaded a collaborative Bach Project, which received resounding acclaim when it was launched at All Saints’ Cathedral. Her exceptional contributions to music were recognized through induction into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame and the prestigious Queens gold medal. To honor her memory, a live stream of the memorial service will be available on YouTube. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alexandra Munn Fund established by the Edmonton Community Foundation. This fund aims to provide support to talented students and eliminate financial barriers that may impede their educational journey.

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