Sarah Lawrence College Mourns the Passing of Jean Wentworth, Music Faculty Member Emerita

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The Sarah Lawrence community mourns the passing of Jean Wentworth, music faculty member emerita, who passed away on October 10 at her home.

Jean was well-known as a Debussy scholar and taught piano, chamber music, and music history at the College. She performed solo, chamber, and orchestral works by Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Bartok, and many more. In 1954 she won the prestigious Naumburg International Competition, described by The New York Times as “in its quiet way, the most prestigious of them all.”

Between them, Jean and Kenneth, Jean’s husband of 68 years, dedicated over eight decades to teaching at Sarah Lawrence. They studied together with the late Irwin Freundlich at the Juilliard school and in the early 1960s were Fulbright scholars in India. They eventually became known for their work as a one-piano, four-hand team. A lovely 1996 article in The New York Times describes their unique partnership.

Two of Jean and Ken’s children, David and Martha, are Sarah Lawrence graduates. Jean was pre-deceased by her beloved son Jonathan. The family held a private service for Jean earlier this week, and will sit shiva on Monday, October 16.

Jean was an ardent supporter of AIDS-related causes; donations in her memory may be made to:

Whitman-Walker Health, AIDS WALK TO END HIV
1342 Florida Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20009

Dean of the College Kanwal Singh remembers Jean's "ubiquitous presence across campus, especially in the dining hall. She was always ready to sit down with someone new and introduce herself; I remember lovely conversations with her about the glory of the birth of children when my own son was an infant. She touched hundreds of students, faculty, and staff at the College and all our hearts are heavy today."