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A performance for one

When Susan Agranove could no longer attend performances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a grateful award recipient brought the music to her

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Susan Agranove sits on her patio where a recipient of the music award she established surprised her with a violin performance.

Susan Agranove wants music students to know she cares about them. That’s why she frequently attends performances — whether a studio recital or full concert — by recipients of the award she established to honour her husband, Larry, BA’50, PhD’71, following his death nine years ago.

When audiences could no longer attend performances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agranove missed seeing the results of the students’ hard work and their exuberance as they performed on stage. Recordings, while appreciated, just weren’t the same.

Then, on a beautiful sunny day this past April, the music came to her. 

Wearing a blue face mask, Kevin Ye, a second-year Don Wright Faculty of Music student and a 2020-2021 recipient of the Larry and Susan Agranove Award, played his violin for Agranove on the patio outside her London apartment.

His performance was a surprise for Agranove, who had invited Ye for coffee. Sitting at a round table across from Ye, she listened, delighted to be serenaded, as the music floated through the air.  

“I felt immensely grateful for her donation, and this was the least I could do for her,” said Ye. “It was a tough year due to COVID, so I thought it would be nice for her to see me perform in person.”

When Ye returns to Western in the fall, Agranove intends to be a friendly face in the audience for his performances. She hopes their relationship will flourish, as it has with many other recipients of her award.

“I try to encourage the students to reach their goals,” she said. “I get tremendous satisfaction from connecting with younger people. It’s a way of keeping up with the world. And I also get to hear great music, which is good for my soul.”

The Larry and Susan Agranove Award is valued at $2,500 and distributed annually to three music students who have an exemplary performance record and are well-rounded academically.