Former piano student donates $6.7M to MacPhail Center for Music


The MacPhail Center for Music received a $6.7 million gift to strengthen its general endowment fund – the largest gift in the organization's history.

Minneapolis-based MacPhail announced Tuesday that James E. Ericksen, who began taking piano lessons at MacPhail as an adult, donated the funds. He died in January at age 68.

“To this point in our history, MacPhail has never had a significant endowment. With his gift, James has given MacPhail the opportunity to create a sizable endowment to use towards our future," MacPhail CEO Kyle Carpenter said in a statement.

Ericksen, an Edina native, graduated from Augsburg College, was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Germany, and worked as an auditor for the state of Minnesota for 31 years.

He was a recreational piano player who had a deep love of music, MacPhail says. Ericksen began studying piano at MacPhail in the early 1990s and was described by his teachers as quiet, stoic and courteous.

“This remarkable gift was inspired by his affection for his MacPhail teachers. It is a profound example of the power of the music learning experiences offered by MacPhail’s entire faculty and the deep generosity and affinity that MacPhail students have for our institution," Carpenter said.

In addition to the gift, which will be used to build up an endowment to further support MacPhail's students, Ericksen donated a symphonium – an 1800's era mechanical music player that belonged to his mother – and a 1914 Steinway piano, also a family heirloom, the release notes.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.