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The end of an era, the start of a legacy

On April 20, an era will end when James Miltenberger plays with the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, marking his final performance as a faculty member of WVU’s School of Music. His legacy however, will be known to future generations of students through the James Miltenberger Piano Scholarship.

The endowment, which funds undergraduate and graduate students studying piano, was established in 2012 by music alumna Lydia E. Weisser and her husband, Roland J. “Bud” Weisser, an alumnus of the School of Medicine. It was the year Miltenberger, professor of piano, celebrated his 50th year on the WVU music faculty.

“I personally benefitted in so many ways by being able to study piano and repertoire with Dr. Miltenberger that I wanted to ensure his spirit would live on in the many students attracted to study piano at WVU because of his reputation,” Lydia Weisser said. “Although quiet and unassuming, Dr. Miltenberger has the uncanny ability to work with students of all backgrounds and skill levels.  He is a gifted teacher who is patient, thorough, kind, passionate and has a great sense of humor.  He has been my mentor and friend for many years and it is difficult to imagine the School of Music without him.  I plan to continue funding the scholarship and hope other former students will do the same so that his legacy will continue.”

Many will remember Miltenberger as a performer. His resume includes soloist performances throughout the United States, Europe and Asia with various orchestras including Thailand National Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

But to hundreds more, Miltenberger will first be remembered as the teacher and mentor behind their success. Talented, intuitive, dedicated, humble and passionate are just a few of the words his students have used to describe him.

Thousands of students and hundreds of faculty have passed through the School of Music during Jim’s tenure,” said Keith Jackson, director of the School of Music. “I get to speak to many of those alumni now and they always share memories that include ‘Doc.’ His impact is immeasurable and irreplaceable, he really embodies this institution.”

Miltenberger will play Joan Tower’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra for his final performance, surrounded by past and present students, colleagues and friends.

“I am extremely pleased that we have the Miltenberger Piano Scholarship to help future generations of Music students at WVU,” Miltenberger said.

Tickets for Miltenberger’s final performance can be purchases by calling 304-293-SHOW or visiting To contribute to the James Miltenberger Piano Scholarship, contact Jennifer Jordan at 304-293-4331 or