***Frieda Manes, a distinguished pianist and a beloved music teacher in Buffalo for almost 40 years, died Sunday morning after an illness of several months. She was 66.
Born Frieda Green in Melbourne, Australia, Mrs. Manes graduated from the Melbourne Conservatorium. At 18, she came to the United States hoping to audition for the Juilliard School. She was accepted, studying with Irwin Freundlich.
At Juilliard she met her husband, Stephen Manes, who also was a student of Freundlich's. Married in 1963, they lived in Vienna, Austria, and then in New York City. They moved to Buffalo in 1968, when Stephen Manes, currently the outgoing chairman of the University at Buffalo's music department, was offered a position at UB.
Mrs. Manes' virtuosity, enthusiasm for music and quiet sense of humor made her a sought-after piano teacher. She taught for a year at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and, after moving to Buffalo, at Daemen College. She had a large roster of private piano students.
On the concert stage, she became especially well-known for the lively, intuitive performances she and her husband gave of piano music for four hands. Playing sometimes on two pianos but more often on one, they explored a wide repertoire ranging from Schubert and Mozart to Ravel, Poulenc and contemporary masters. They recorded the complete four-hand piano music of Beethoven for Spectrum Records and performed together around the world.
Mrs. Manes put her solo career largely on hold to raise a family, saying her husband's career should come first. "We were married," she told The Buffalo News in 1979. "I was his wife, and I simply went with him."
Still, she found time to give occasional concerts both in a chamber music setting and as a soloist, most notably locally with the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. For almost every summer since 1973, she was resident pianist at theSebago-Long Lake Region Chamber Music Festival in Maine.
I only studied with her for a year, but Mrs. Manes was, without a doubt, the best piano teacher I have ever had. she had a way of making you to do more than you thought you could without realizing it. she never got raised her voice, never got impatient, but always got her point across. she actually made me stop playing for a whole month so she could fix my technique 'the right way' - and not many people could pull that off. at the competitions, you could tell the difference between her students and everyone else's because even her youngest students made music. as the best teacher in buffalo, she had every right to be selective with her students and no reason to agree to teach me, knowing that I would be gone in a year and that it was unlikely I would pursue a career in music, but she did anyway. besides being a fantastic teacher and incredible performer, she was a really kind person. she took the time to talk to her students, even after they grew up and left home. if more piano teacher were like Mrs. Manes, the world would be full of music lovers, concert pianists, and good people.