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Our Story


Lily Kaufman

Lily Kaufman, wife of the then current University City Mayor, Nathan Kaufman, "One must develop a vision of his community and its direction, and plan toward a future far distant, certainly beyond the tenure of anyone here today"was the first President of the University City Symphony Orchestra (UCSO). She knew the Maestro needed to be someone very uniquely talented. She recruited her piano teacher, the immutable William Schatzkamer.


Willie Schatzkamer

Professor William Schatzkamer (1916 - 2012) was an American educator, pianist, and conductor. Beginning in 1948, Schatzkamer toured the United States, Canada, and Mexico for three years under the direction of Columbia Artists Management. He played a total 175 events including three very successful recitals in New York's Town Hall. After the first of these Town Hall recitals, he signed a contract with RCA Victor. Several of his recordings are available in the Washington University Library.

In 1951, Schatzkamer settled in the St. Louis area where he joined the faculty of Washington University and taught there until 1987 (36 years). He was named Professor Emeritus in 1987. He was the original music director and conductor of the University City Symphony Orchestra, serving in that capacity for over 35 years. He was also the conductor of the summer Gateway Festival Orchestra, which offered much-appreciated employment to local professional musicians during their most lean season.

Affectionately known as “Willie”, he remained at the helm as UCSO music director and conductor until the end of the 1996-1997 concert season, at which time he announced that he was stepping down. The UCSO Association selected one of Willie's piano students, Oberlin University graduate Leon Burke III, from the auditioning candidates. Dr. Burke continues to serve as the UCSO’s Music Director, only the second Conductor to lead this esteemed orchestra.

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