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Pamela Gearhart

Published July 24, 2014

Pamela Gearhart, a violinist, conductor and former faculty member in the UB Department of Music, died July 6 in Rochester. She was 79.

A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Gearhart’s father was a violinist and conductor who founded the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and also conducted for the Huntsville, Alabama, Symphony and the St. Louis Philharmonic.

She studied violin at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with such noted instructors as Mischa Mischakoff, Joseph Knitzer, Ivan Galamian and Efrem Zimbalist.

She married UB music department faculty member Livingston Gearhart in 1955 and joined the department as a part-time violin instructor in 1957. Her departmental duties grew to include directing the chamber music performance program and conducting the UB Orchestra.

Gearhart also served as conductor of the youth orchestra of the Buffalo Community Music School from 1959-77, building its membership from 10 to more than 100.

She and her husband co-founded and operated Youth Makes Music, a summer camp in Alabama for young string musicians, from 1972-82. He retired from UB in 1985 and died in 1996.

Pamela Gearhart left UB in 1975 to become Dana Professor of Music at Ithaca College. She founded the Ithaca Youth Orchestra in 1980.

She retired from Ithaca College in 1993.