Winners of the First Andrys Basten Awards!

The first music awards honoring Andrys Basten were presented earlier this month at the 2019 state finals competition sponsored by the California Association of Professional Music Teachers. Andrys’ brother, Glen Yuke, and cousin, Carol Yuke, traveled hundreds of miles to attend the event at the California School of the Arts in Duarte, and CAPMT Vice President of Competitions, Mona Wu DeCesare, graciously allowed Glen to say a few words about Andrys as part of the awards ceremony:

[Andrys] was always very encouraging to anybody that wanted to be involved in music. She would encourage them to learn instruments, to learn theory. It brought so much pleasure and enjoyment to her that she liked to pass that on. . . . It’s a huge honor to have her name on the [winners’] certificates.

Glen was floored by the stupendous level of musicianship on display throughout the day, calling all the performers “phenoms” before presenting the commemorative certificates to the three winners, whose names and programs are as follows:

Concerto Competition Winner:  Nathaniel Zhang, Category  B (age 10-12)
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 1 in C Major, Op 15, I Allegro con brio

Honors Competition Winner:  Sabrina Lo , category B (age 10-12)
J. S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier Prelude & Fugue No 1, Book 1 BWV 856
Franz Liszt Concert Paraphrase on Rigoletto S 434 after Verdi’s opera

Contemporary Competition Winner:  Matthew Gurning, Category C (age 13-15)
Samuel Barber Piano Sonata No 1 Op 26, 4th movement Fuga in E-flat minor
Lowell Liebermann Gargoyles Op 29, # 3, 4

Much thanks to Carol Yuke for all the photos in this post. As today, April 27th, marks the first anniversary of Andrys’ passing, it seems an especially appropriate time to share them.

First Andrys Basten Awards Presented April 6th!

In the month that marks one year since Andrys Basten passed away, the goal of awarding prizes in her honor will become a reality. Three young musicians will each receive $250 and a certificate issued by the California Association of Professional Music Teachers in Andrys’ memory to be presented at their state finals competition this coming Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel, located at 1401 Highland Avenue, Duarte, CA 91010.

The CAPMT do not allow these competitions to be recorded, but they would gladly welcome anyone associated with the Andrys memorial effort to attend and to present the checks and certificates. The recipients will be the winners of the three major areas of CAPMT competition—concerto, contemporary, and honors—with rough time schedules for each set forth below:

Concerto Competition:  8:30 AM – 11:55 AM; award ceremony @ 12:10 PM
Contemporary Competition: 1:00 PM – 4:55 PM; award ceremony @ 5:10 PM
Honors Competition:  8:30 AM – 4:55 PM; award ceremony @ 5:30 PM

The event location looks to be about 22 miles northeast of Los Angeles and even closer to Pasadena. So if any donor, friend, or family member of Andrys can commit to attending the competition and would like to do the honor of presenting the awards, please contact me at the following address:


Fred Feinberg and I would like to thank President Noreen Wenjen and her CAPMT colleagues for working with us to make these inaugural awards possible. The plans for the Andrys Basten Memorial Fund (originally termed the “Nocturne Award”) going forward are still under development with the CAPMT but will, at all events, be used to support young musicians in Andrys’ home state and in her memory, whether that support takes the form of annual piano prizes, scholarships, or both. We will update you all when those plans are fully defined.

Until then, thanks again to all you donors for your generosity. I feel privileged to be part of this kind of team effort, and I’m sure Andrys would be delighted by the kind of “grass roots” philanthropy she inspired.

Elizabeth Lowrey
GoFundMe Organizer Webmistress

Andrys Basten Piano Prize Established!

The California Association of Professional Music Teachers has officially established a piano prize in honor of Andrys Basten. CAPTMT President Noreen Wenjen made the announcement December 9, 2018, via email:

Our California Association of Professional Music Teachers Executive Board unanimously passed a motion to establish an Andrys Basten Prize in the State Finals for the Honors, Contemporary and Concerto Competitions.  A committee has been established to continue to develop the details of this prize. I will keep you informed as the details progress. We are exceptionally grateful for this generous donation that will surely help to reward and inspire our music students, in the name of Andrys Basten.

Needless to say, Andrys’ family and friends are exceedingly pleased with this news and look forward to how the special committee will implement the award as well as to an announcement of when it will debut.

It took a while for Andrys’ long-time friend, Fred Feinberg, to get past non-responsive prospective partners and locate a respected music organization eager to make our idea a reality. And even after the CAPMT entered the picture in early summer, their proposed October meeting to deliberate on the issue meant that other projects and commitments could demand my full attention and allow me the luxury of waiting until I “heard something.” The first half of November found me on a cross-country trip, yet there was still no news of their action on my return. So, after weeks of procrastination, I emailed Fred at 12:27 PM today to see if he’d heard anything, even though I knew he hadn’t or he’d have emailed me immediately.

At 12:55 PM, before Fred could even respond, we were both included on the email quoted above, the first communication from the CAPMT in nearly two months and the first initiated entirely by them, a coincidence that even statistics professor Fred found “spooky” and a “most remarkable Timing Kismet Moment.”

I’m no stranger to synchronicities. And though I read no specific meaning into this one, my personal experience convinces me that the universe supports group actions undertaken with truly charitable motives. Our collective, good faith effort to benefit young pianists in the name of a woman we loved and respected is reason enough for the universe to respond with a wink, especially at this time of year. 

ETA 12/11/18:

If you would like to contribute to the award fund in this season of giving, please visit the GoFundMe campaign page.

Excellent Start for Fund Drive

Andrys and cousin Eleanor, Yosemite, 2012

Dear Friends and Family of Andrys,

The effort to fund the “Andrys Basten Nocturne Award” is off to a fantastic start! Begun the evening of April 27th (less than 24 hours after Andrys passed away), the campaign earned $2,325.00 in its first four days, bringing us to over 35% of our goal. That’s a tremendous tribute to the affection and generosity Andrys inspired.

We don’t want the drive to stall, however, and I hope we can all renew our efforts to spread the word about the award and its potential to recognize and encourage musical excellence among new generations of pianists in Andrys’ hometown. In my opinion, nothing exceeds the importance of nurturing beauty in this world, for beauty begets beauty. And inspiring young musicians to absorb, personalize, and then resubmit to the public domain the sublime compositions of Frederic Chopin seems to me a karmic investment worthy of Andrys’ name and our greatest commitment.

Speaking of notable “Freds” . . .

Fred Feinberg continues to pursue a San Francisco music organization(s) to sponsor/bestow the award and help shape the exact form it might take. When we have something concrete on that front, we’ll share the news immediately.

So if you haven’t passed the key links to friends, they appear below in one convenient list:

The Andrys Basten Nocturne Award

GoFundMe Campaign on facebook

Email, facebook, and twitter are built for this kind of sharing, as are the music and other forums where Andrys was active. But don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned word of mouth.

I hope all who knew Andrys will visit the Guestbook (registration requires a valid email address to prevent spammers) and leave a memory or impression or tribute. Alternatively, you can simply post via your facebook account to the integrated facebook page. Such tributes will be a vital part of the site’s content, especially in regard to prospective donors and competitors for the piano award.

I hope to update the “About Andrys” page with my own impressions sometime over the next week and would be grateful for help with basic biographical information from any family or friends willing to compile it. I’m also working hard to preserve Andrys’ online photography by copying her galleries to the website. The latter is a major undertaking that virtually demands some kind of automation, which brings its own share of complexities. I’ll issue news on my progress as warranted.

In the meantime, perhaps you can share a couple of montages with potential donors, one showcasing Andrys’ pianism and photography and the other featuring photographs she took of her beloved San Francisco. You can tell a lot about a person by what they devoted their time and talent to.

Thanks again for your past and continued support of this effort.

Elizabeth Lowrey
Webmaster at
GoFundMe Campaign Organizer