When horn faculty member Jerome Ashby (B.M. ’77, French horn) died in 2007 after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer, there was an immense outpouring of grief for this devoted friend and teacher. This past November, one of Ashby’s former students decided to pay tribute to his mentor by launching a Juilliard scholarship in his name.
Adam Krauthamer, now a freelance musician based in New York City, studied with Ashby as a high school student in Long Island before moving to Philadelphia in 1999 to study with Myron Bloom at the Curtis Institute. Jerome “had seen me grow up and I left to move on with another teacher,” Krauthamer said in a recent interview with The Journal. But in 2001, when Bloom left Curtis, Ashby took his place and Krauthamer spent the rest of his undergraduate years in Ashby’s studio.
The two kept in touch after graduation and their student-teacher relationship turned into more of a friendship. “I would call him if there was anything I needed to talk about,” Krauthamer said. To those who knew Ashby, this was undoubtedly no surprise. In a tribute to him that appeared in The Journal in 2008, horn faculty member Julie Landsman recalled, “At the funeral service, I was struck by the fact that almost everyone there referred to Jerome as ‘my best friend.’ The number of ‘best friends’ Jerome had is a sure testament to his generous heart.”
In addition to teaching at Curtis, Ashby, who was the associate principal horn with the New York Philharmonic from 1979 until his death, was also on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. Even though Krauthamer attended Curtis, he decided Juilliard would be the best place for the scholarship because Ashby went to school and taught at Juilliard, plus the New York Philharmonic is closely affiliated with it, Krauthamer said.
A Web site was set up for the scholarship at the end of November, shortly before the fourth anniversary of Ashby’s death. Thanks to Krauthamer’s effort and the generosity of donors, Ashby’s passion for education will continue to resonate in the halls of Juilliard as, starting in the fall of 2012, one French horn student will be chosen to be the recipient. “We shared a deep mutual concern for our students—a love, really, as they became our children,” Julie Landsman said of Ashby. Now for generations to come, young horn players who didn’t have the privilege of studying with Ashby will be part of his legacy.