The Adamant Music School was founded in 1942 by Edwine Behre, a pianist and teacher from New York. Along with her friends, Alice Mary Kimball and Harry Godfrey, she established a colony where pianists came to study the piano, to share in their passion for music, and live in a closeknit community. The school grew to include teachers such as Emma Dressler and Frieda Rosenblatt in the early years. Over the decades, through the generosity of Frank Suchomel, the school expanded its property holdings to.........
to include 25 practice studios located in the woods with vintage grand pianos, as well as six residences to house our participants and faculty. Our faculty has also expanded to include some of the most outstanding artists throughout the world, including Menahem Pressler and John O’Conor. Today,
Adamant attracts talented performers and auditors from all over the world to study the art of piano andshare in the joy of music-making.
Edwine Behre was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1884. She made her concert debut in 1898, and continued to study, teach and love the piano throughout her entire life. She studied for four years in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky, considered by many to have been the world's greatest piano pedagogue.
In 1915, Edwine moved to New York City. She taught piano in New York for over sixty years, paying particular attention to the application of physical relaxation in technique to avoid pain in fingers, wrists and arms. She also lectured on music and played recitals well into her old age. As a teenager, she made a "passionate decision" never to marry and risk having a husband interfere with her music.
Edwine was independent and unorthodox. Her parents were active in the cultural life of Atlanta, and were also ardent pacifists. Edwine followed in their footsteps. She was actively involved in anti-war efforts during the two world wars, in the labor movement, and in the nuclear disarmament movement in the 1950s. Her friends were artists, writers, musicians, dancers, politicians, anarchists, and feminists - passionate, active, and interesting people of all kinds.
Harry Godfrey was born in Chicago in 1883. A talented photographer and writer, he was a leading reporter at the Kansas City Star. One of his reporter trainees was the young writer Ernest Hemingway.
He had been married and fathered three children, but by the time he met Alice Mary Kimball, a new reporter at the newspaper in 1914, he was divorced. He asked her to marry him by placing a wedding announcement in the paper! She agreed to marry him "to avoid embarrassment." Since they stayed married until his death in 1957, one can presume she didn't object to his creative proposal.
Harry and Alice Mary moved to New York City in 1918, where Harry worked for the War Labor Board, opened a photography studio, and continued his freelance writing. Photography was his true love, and he was an early enthusiast for home movie technology. His photographs chronicled the lives of the founders in great detail.
Alice Mary Kimball was born in Woodbury, Vermont, in 1886. She knew at an early age that she wanted to be a writer, and published her first piece in the local paper, the Hardwick Gazette, at the age of ten.
When she finished her formal education at Johnson Normal School (Johnson, Vermont) in 1905, she began a career as a teacher. After several years of teaching, however, she yearned for something more exciting. In 1910, she began working as a reporter at the Hardwick Gazette. A dramatic murder case launched her journalistic career, and she began a series of moves around the country. In 1914, she landed at the Kansas City Star, where she met and married Harry Godfrey. A few years later, they moved to New York City.
In 1929, she published a book of poetry, The Devil is a Woman, to national acclaim. She was horrified by the shocking growth of the Ku Klux Klan, and felt compelled to skewer their biases through her poetry. As a freelance writer, she wrote for The Saturday Evening Post, The Reader's Digest, and a host of other national magazines.
Alice Mary was dedicated to civil rights and workers' rights. Her career in journalism was marked by her ability to write vivid and dramatic stories about current events of the day. She was instrumental in organizing a streetcar workers' strike in Kansas City in 1917. Alice Mary was a prolific writer about women's activities around the country. She also wrote in support of peace and civil rights both home and abroad.
The Three of Them
Alice Mary Kimball met Edwine Behre in a Greenwich Village cafè in 1918. Thus a friendship was born that would last for sixty years. They were kindred spirits, and they instantly recognized this.
Alice Mary and Harry moved into Edwine's lodgings, and in 1922, the three of them moved together to a house in Greenwich Village. This house, with a studio for Edwine, a book-room for Alice Mary, and room for Harry's photography equipment, would become a magnet for local artists, musicians and intelligentsia.The three of them worked and played together. Their lives were filled with culture and activism, from music and writing and photography, to political protest and social activism. They vacationed together in North Carolina, the Adirondacks, and Vermont, all lovingly documented by Harry's camera.In 1948, still together as a devoted trio, they moved to 162 West 54th Street. Edwine continued to run her studio, working with a loose collaborative of teachers known as "The Modern Piano School," while Harry and Alice Mary continued to write.
The long association between this vibrant, creative, intellectual and talented threesome proved productive and fruitful, and they were about to take the next big step. It would lead them up a dusty dirt road to Adamant, Vermont.
“A pianist of substance.”
Matthew Manwarren has served as a faculty member at the Adamant Music School since the summer of 1998. He came that year to Adamant as a replacement for faculty member, Eugene Barban, who had to cancel at the last minute when a family emergency arose. Mary Lou Francis, the Executive Direct at the time, told Matthew the appointment was for only one year. Twenty-three years later, he continues to have an association with Adamant, having taught most years in the three week Traditional Session.