Gift to further music education in name of local icon

April 5, 2018 GMT

The legacy of longtime University of Oregon music professor and arts icon Edmund Cykler will live on thanks to a former student’s $1 million gift establishing a faculty chair in his name.

Cykler, who died in 1988 at age 84, served on the UO faculty from 1947 to 1984. He was known for establishing the Chamber Music Series, serving as the UO symphony conductor, and being deeply involved with the Eugene music community.

The Edmund A. Cykler Chair, gifted by UO Foundation trustee Timothy Foo, will become the third endowed chair at the School of Music and Dance, alongside the Philip H. Knight Chair and Robert M. Trotter Chair of Music Studies.

“It is really a wonderful thing to have an endowed chair for one of our university’s most impacting musical professors,” said Brad Foley, School of Music and Dance dean. “It enhances our school’s fiscal resources, our reputation and brings wonderful memory to Cykler’s name.”

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The donation will receive an additional $1 million in matching funds from the Presidential Fund for Excellence, a fund established last year by UO President Michael Schill after an anonymous $50 million gift was received.

The Cykler chair will provide an endowment of about $80,000 annually that will enable the School of Music and Dance to provide a current faculty member or a new member with resources, Foley said. The resources can be used to support the chair-holder through research support and salary supplements, provide scholarships or graduate assistantships to students, and help bring guest artists and scholars to campus.

In his 37 years at UO, Cykler taught courses in music education and spent a number of years as the School of Music’s associate dean and conductor of the UO symphony, Foley said.

He also was very involved in the study-abroad music program that sent students to Germany, where he first met Foo, he said. The two formed a close relationship that lasted for many years, and Foo was honored to fund a chair in Cykler’s name.

A supporter of the Eugene music community, Cykler directed the Eugene-University Music Association, which brought nationally and internationally known musicians to McArthur Court, Foley said.

“It makes sense with his interest in bringing such acclaimed artists into the community that he transitioned to doing a similar process here, establishing the UO’s remarkable Chamber Music Series,” he said.

Now called ChamberMusic@Beall, the series, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, produces concerts that feature renowned guest artists throughout the year.

Cykler was awarded the Eugene Arts and Letters Award in 1985, which honors individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts and culture of Eugene.

“Through sharing his international experiences with students and the community,” Foley said, “  ...  he has certainly expanded our reputation and broadened the scope of the School of Music at-large. The chair is a true way to honor his accomplishments.”

Follow Morgan on Twitter @morgan_theophil . Email morgan.theophil@registerguard.com .