We are deeply saddened to learn of Professor Ken Burky’s passing on Friday, February 17, 2023 in Florida. 

Ken served faithfully as Chair of Piano at the Mary Pappert School of Music from 1978 until his retirement this past summer and was beloved by generations of students. Ken’s career was celebrated in September with a Curtain Call event in the Africa Room that was well-attended by his many colleagues, present and former students, and friends. He leaves a great legacy behind him, and our condolences go out to his family in Florida and Texas.

Kenneth L. Burky enjoyed great success as a soloist, accompanist, and adjudicator throughout the country. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in piano from Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Emil Danenberg. While at Oberlin, Burky spent a year touring and studying at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, Austria. In 1961, Ken became a student at Indiana University-Bloomington where he earned his Master of Music degree, studying with Bela Nagy, Vladio Perlemuter, and Gyorgy Sebok. He did his doctoral studies at Indiana University. Burky has also studied with James Friskin from the Juilliard School of Music and Arthur Loesser at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is an active member and adjudicator for PMTA, MTNA, and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. In 1984, Burky was the Grand Prize winner in the International Piano Recording Competition sponsored by the NGPT. Before coming to Duquesne in 1978, he taught at Southwest Texas State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Mr. Burky has been cited in the Who's Who in American Education (1990) and is an honored member of the 2010–2011 Cambridge registry of Who's Who of Executives, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs.

Ken was selected to adjudicate the prestigious Chinese Piano Competition (sponsored by CS Music in New York City) which was administered online from China. This competition was held in August 2020.

Donations in memory of Mr. Burky can be made by visiting duq.edu/give (to ensure the gift goes to the right place, select “Enter Other” under Designations and enter “Piano Department Award Fund”).

Read Ken Burky's Obituary

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February 21, 2023