Eric Dalheim, Pianist


Eric Dalheim (1932-2011)

Eric Dalheim, a University of Illinois Professor of Accompanying from 1961-2004, earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice and a Bachelor of Music in piano from Baldwin-Wallace College (1954-55), a Master of Music degree in piano and ensemble from the University of Illinois (1961), and pursued additional studies with an esteemed array of musicians which included George Reeves, Paul Ulanowsky, Gerald Moore, Paul Hamburger, and Dalton Baldwin.

Professor Dalheim concertized with artists of renown such as Ara Berberian, Blanche Thebom, Eleanor Steber, William Warfield, Jerry Hadley, Ronald Hedlund, Jerold  Siena,  Szymon Goldberg, Joel Krosnick, Michel Debost, and Roger Bobo. He also collaborated in master classes with composer Ned Rorem, and with legendary singers Pierre Bernac, Gerard Souzay, Jan Peerce, and Phyllis Curtin.

He served as the official accompanist/clinician for the National Association of  Teachers of  Singing (NATS). In 1998, he accompanied soprano Barbara Dalheim and baritone Ronald Hedlund in concert at the Toronto  NATS National Convention, featuring winning song cycles of the International Art Song Competition. Professor Dalheim was a co-editor & consultant for The Virtuoso Obbligato Aria Collection found at

Professor Dalheim was a frequent collaborator with fellow university faculty members for vocal recitals, instrumental solo recitals and chamber music concerts, as well as a partner with professional performers and advanced student performers in required degree recitals. In addition to his many performances each year at the University of Illinois and throughout North America, he taught Vocal Literature, Principles of Accompanying and Advanced Accompanying, as well as having coached singers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Professor Dalheim had a profound life-long influence on many of his students, as can be  seen in this  posting by a former student, which ends with, "Thank you for making me an infinitely better musician. Thank you, Eric Dalheim, for sharing your wisdom."

In 1974, he was honored as a distinguished alumnus of the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory. An avid collector of vinyl recordings and reader of mystery novels, he was also a pocket billiards enthusiast -- counting it no disgrace that he once lost an exhibition match to the legendary billiards master Willie Mosconi.

Married to soprano Barbara Dalheim, he regularly collaborated on stage with his offstage partner in a wide-ranging repertory that encompassed  everything from art song and "parlour" music to the contemporary and avant-garde music for which his soprano/wife is widely recognized as an expert interpreter.

To quote the late tenor Jerry Hadley, Eric Dalheim was one of his "most quintessential and passionate teachers" during Hadley's tenure as a student at the University of Illinois from 1974-77. Professor Dalheim collaborated with Mr. Hadley & cellist Barbara Hedlund in the Emmy award-winning PBS Performance Documentary, The Song and Slogan.

Again quoting Mr. Hadley, "It is a privilege and an honor and an unspeakable joy to sing with Eric Dalheim. Without his generous and passionate example, not to mention his unswerving commitment and devotion to everyone who has the good fortune to travel in his orbit, people like me would be so very much the poorer. He possesses that rare combination of genius and humility which are the hallmarks of all truly great artists. He is a treasure."

Eric Dalheim passed away at his home in Champaign, Illinois, on April 18, 2011. His obituary is available on line here and will open in a new tab or may be downloaded below as an Acrobat Reader pdf file. The program to his memorial service can be downloaded below as a pdf file).

Brian Stautter photo