Ryan Case

Ryan Case
Ryan Case
  • High School: Dolgeville, Class of 2015
  • Major at OCC: Music with a specialization in Piano

Music was always Ryan Case’s destiny. From the moment his parents met at music camp the sounds of music would forever fill their lives. His father, Mark played the trombone. His mother, Carol played the bassoon. They married and raised three sons. Music was a constant in the household. “My parents wanted us to have music in our lives,” Case said. “We each picked out an instrument for ourselves.”

Case chose the piano and began taking lessons in 2nd grade. By the time he reached 9th grade he was helping teach fellow classmates music parts in various ensembles. Case plays other instruments (trombone and euphonium) and sings (he’s a bass). He’s grateful for the numerous opportunities he received in high school. Two years later his piano teacher, Linda Carpenter told him she had gone as far as she could with him. He needed to find someone else to take lessons from.

During Case’s junior year at Dolgeville High School he attended a master class at Herkimer High School with other students from the Mohawk Valley. OCC Music Professors Rob Bridge and David Rudari were there and Case struck up a conversation with them. “I told them I was interested in attending OCC and needed a piano teacher. They told me about Dr. Kevin Moore at OCC and gave me his contact information.”

A short time later Case found himself driving to OCC for lessons with Dr. Moore. “The first lesson I had with him I was like, ‘Wow! He’s good!’” Case would make the trip every other week. With each lesson and the time he was putting in between lessons he was blossoming as a pianist.

In the fall of 2015 Case enrolled at OCC. He began taking classes tuition-free thanks to the Frederick Marvin Scholarship. Marvin is a world renowned concert pianist who gave the OCC Foundation $25,000 with the request that the money be used for scholarships for Music majors specializing in piano. Case had the opportunity to meet Marvin during his first semester on campus.

During his time at OCC Case has been an outstanding student, earning membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He’s grateful for OCC’s Music department and the impact faculty has had on his growth. “The professors here are wonderful. They’ve helped me so much with everything. I’m so impressed with the entire department and how much they care about students.”

Case will earn his degree in May 2017. He plans to transfer to either SUNY Potsdam or Roberts Wesleyan and major in music education. Case will follow his father’s footsteps into the world of teaching. Mark Case is a music teacher in the Dolgeville School District.

Case would like to thank the Dolgeville School District for helping him build a strong foundation. He’s especially grateful to Choir Director Bethany Colenzo who gave him opportunities to teach choir classes, parts and accompany the choir on piano. He also wants to thanks his father who was his Band Director and allowed him to direct the band. Case is also grateful to elementary Choir Director Leslie Kubica and elementary Band Director Katlin Wolford who gave him opportunities to work with children. “All of these teachers gave me experiences in music education. I thank them and the Dolgeville Central School Administration and Staff for supporting me!”

Legendary Gift of Music

Legendary concert pianist Frederick Marvin talks music with Piano majors Kevan Spencer (left) and Ryan Case (right).
Legendary concert pianist Frederick Marvin talks music with Piano majors Kevan Spencer (left) and Ryan Case (right).

Ryan Case and Kevan Spencer have experienced a life milestone they say they will never forget. Both are Music majors specializing in Piano at OCC who dream of being concert pianists. They are attending the College tuition-free thanks to scholarships funded by world-renowned concert pianist Frederick Marvin and his husband, Ernst Schuh. On September 9, Marvin and Schuh came to the College’s Recital Hall and listened as Case and Spencer took turns playing for them. They did so on a Hamburg Steinway model B, a mid-sized grand piano worth more than $40,000 that Marvin and Schuh donated to the College in July. “It’s a beautiful instrument. I was so excited to play for such a legend,” said Spencer. “Knowing the history of all he’s accomplished, that he’s one of the great pianists is just amazing. I will always remember this day,” said Case.

Case (Dolgeville H.S.) and Spencer (West Genesee H.S.) are the first in a long line of students who will benefit from Marvin and Schuh whose commitment to OCC began a few years ago when they heard the College was building a new home for its music majors. “I thought this would be an ideal place for my whole microfilm collection,” said Marvin. “I donated 190 rolls.” He also gave the College all of his printed music by Franz Liszt as well as a number of books related to Liszt, a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor and teacher who was well-known in Europe in the early nineteenth century.

Frederick Marvin (left) and Ernst Schuh (right) in their Syracuse home.
Frederick Marvin (left) and Ernst Schuh (right) in their Syracuse home.

Shortly after the new building, named “Academic II,” opened in the fall of 2013, Marvin and Schuh gave $25,000 to the OCC Foundation with the request that the money be used for scholarships for Music majors specializing in piano. “Scholarships worked very well for me when I was a student,” said Marvin. “I know they’ll work well for these students. It’s important to be able to help others.”

Music has always been at the center of Marvin and Schuh’s lives. In fact, it’s what brought them together more than 50 years ago in Austria. In 1959, Marvin was a concert pianist touring the world and Schuh was an opera critic. They happened to be visiting the grave of composer Anton Bruckner in the Abbey of St. Florian at the same time. “We started talking immediately about music, concerts and opera,” said Schuh. “It brought us together.”

Schuh took over managing Marvin’s career, a career that started in 1936 with his debut concert in Los Angeles at age 16. Two years later his concert at Carnegie Hall was voted its best performance of the year. Suddenly Marvin was in demand, touring the United States and Europe. When Marvin and Schuh’s paths finally crossed they decided to make Vienna their home base while they toured the world.

Marvin’s abilities as a concert pianist earned him awards in several nations. While receiving a medal from the Spanish government he met Salvador Dali, one of the most celebrated artists of all time. Dali invited Marvin and Schuh into his home. “He was very genial and very warm,” said Marvin. “It was a very interesting experience. I had been an admirer of his for years.”

Marvin and Schuh never hid the fact they were a couple and always hoped the day would come when same-sex unions would become legal. When laws changed they were married in 2011 in both Austria and in the United States. Mayor Stephanie Miner performed the service at Syracuse City Hall in October of that year.

Now Marvin is 95 years old and Schuh is 93. They are departing Central New York for Austria. As they leave they are proud to give the gift of music to students at OCC. “We hope our gifts will help revive culture in the community,” said Marvin. “We want to make music and culture more popular so other people will want to do the same,” added Schuh.

By the way, Marvin is still an excellent pianist. On a recent trip to his home he played the beginning of Antonio Soler’s “Fandango” for us.

OCC Music Professor Kevin Moore specializes in teaching piano. He’s known Marvin and Schuh since he began working at the College in 1975. “Fred and Ernst’s generosity to Onondaga Community College’s Music Department has been and will be a wonderful way to help out our young piano students. I know that they appreciate this a great deal. Fred’s piano is a magnificent gift that will benefit the entire community every time we have a concert, which we plan to do often.”

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