Queens College honors late jazz great

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Howard BrofskyPhoto by James Fidela
Howard Brofsky

The legacy of a late Queens College music professor will live on with a memorial scholarship in his name.

Queens College and the Aaron Copland School of Music paid tribute to Howard Brofsky Tuesday, establishing the Howard Brofsky Memorial Scholarship in Jazz in his honor.

Brofsky passed away on October 17 at age 86. He taught up until 10 days before he died, officials said.

“He especially loved the classroom,” said Edward Smaldone, director of the Aaron Copland School of Music. “He will be missed by the entire Aaron Copland School of Music and Queens College family.”

Photo courtesy of Queens College

Brofsky, a lifelong jazz performer, chaired the music department shortly after beginning his career at the college in the 1960s. He is also credited for swaying administration to start a jazz program, despite early resistance that “sometimes disheartened” Brofsky, said his wife, Robin Westen.

“But he believed in the power of jazz and its importance. That’s why he persevered. It came from his heart,” she said. “He set up the program and then quietly stepped back and let it unfold and blossom.”

Brofsky’s “quiet strength” paved the way for the program to become one of the best in New York, the college said in a release.

 

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