John Maltese

Obituary
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  • "I was his student in Louisiana at Northwestern State..."
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John Maltese, 95, Professor Emeritus of Music at Jacksonville State University in Alabama and an accomplished violinist and noted expert on the history of the violin and violin recordings, died on October 11, 2015. He was born in Trapani, Sicily on February 19, 1920 and came with his family to the United States in 1921 in search of the American Dream. He found it through the power of education and a remarkable talent for the violin. He studied at Juilliard, put aside the violin for almost three years to serve his adopted country in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Caliente during World War II and after the war earned a Master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. He married Eva May Campbell in 1949, played the violin for three presidents as part of a string ensemble at the White House and eventually became a college professor where he influenced countless students over a 35 year career. After the death of his first wife in 1993, he married Anna Holdsambeck in 1995. He was known world-wide for his extensive collection of historic sound recordings and for his expertise on violinists, particularly his idol Jascha Heifetz. His many honors include a Grammy Award. He wrote extensively about Heifetz, often in collaboration with his son John. For over 40 years he worked with a broad range of record companies and film producers to disseminate historic recordings and film footage from his collection and he earned widespread acclaim (including a feature article in the New York Times) for a CD he and his son produced of previously lost recordings from the early 1890s of Russian musicians including Tchaikovsky, Arensky, and Taneyev. He and his son had been working for several years on a biography of Heifetz, which will be completed soon. He pursued everything in life with great optimism and an enduring faith in the future. He also shared a love of the Lord with his dear wife Anna. He was a romantic in an increasingly cynical age who taught his family and friends how to live and, in these past few weeks, how to die with grace, wit, charm and exuberance for adventures yet to come. Funeral services will be Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia. A reception will follow at the church. A graveside gathering will be held Monday, October 19, 2015 at 1 p.m. CST at Jacksonville City Cemetery, Jacksonville, Alabama. He is survived by his wife, Anna; his son, John. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John Maltese Violin Scholarship Fund at the University of Georgia with checks made payable to the UGA Foundation, Maltese Scholarship and mailed to The Hugh Hodgson School of Music, attn: Ms. Sara Emery, The University of Georgia, 250 River Road, Athens, GA 30602, or online at http://gail.uga.edu/hhsom (where donors should note "in memory of John Maltese" in the tribute box). Alternatively, donations may be made to The Church in Athens, P.O. Box 6767, Athens, GA 30604 or to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1065 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605. Lord and Stephens, EAST, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com
Religious Service Information
Covenant Presbyterian Church
1065 Gaines School Rd
Athens, GA 30605
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Published in The Anniston Star on Oct. 15, 2015
bullet U.S. Navy bullet University of Georgia bullet World War II