Distinguished flute instructor dies of cancer

Distinguished flute instructor dies of cancer

Students remember Karen Adrian as someone who would always make them believe in themselves even when they were on the verge of calling it quits.

Adrian, a flute instructor at the School of Music, died of cancer Saturday at the age of 65.

Adrian taught flute at the university, where she regularly performed recitals. Colleagues remember Adrian’s spirit and love for music and her students.

“Adrian was a wonderful musician, great friend, and highly valued colleague,” Richard Gipson, the director and professor of the university’s School of Music, wrote in an e-mail.

After coming to the university in 1984, Adrian taught applied flute to students until she became ill this fall, Gipson wrote.

“She was a vivacious and engaging person … absolutely committed to her students,” he wrote.

Helen Blackburn, a flute instructor, said she knew Adrian as a very giving and supportive professor.

“When (students) needed her … when they had given up hope, she was the one that kept them going,” Blackburn said.

Allie Hibert, a junior music education major, took private flute lessons from Adrian during her freshman year.

“She loved music, and she loved teaching it to her students,” Hibert said. “She was very understanding and caring … of everybody that she taught.”

Adrian received bachelor and master of music degrees at Indiana University. She was awarded the Performer’s Certificate, which is a special recognition given to an individual who has demonstrated musical understanding and technical proficiency in a recital, according to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Web site.

Adrian also received the American Airlines Distinguished Musician Award in 1995 and recently retired from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra after more than 30 years. She was the assistant principal flute and the principal piccolo player for the orchestra.

In the past, Adrian had previously worked with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Philharmonic, according to the School of Music Web site.