René Malès: For the love of music

René Malès
Malès with conservatory students Hikari Nakamura, Alfonso Hernandez, Axel Rojas and Tinca Belinschi
“I have great interest in the development of kids with piano talent. I admire their fortitude to stick it out and put in the hard work.”

René Malès

Classical music enthusiast René Malès has made a generous $50,000 bequest to Lynn’s Conservatory of Music’s Piano Studio.

Malès downplays the size of the bequest, saying it is a small gesture. But Roberta Rust, head of the Piano Studio, said Malès is a benefactor of the highest order, based not strictly on the size of his contributions, but also on the spirit behind them.

“He is very knowledgeable and appreciative of the high level of music-making at South Florida’s finest classical music training institutions,” Rust said. “I am deeply honored that he has chosen to direct his gift at Lynn to the outstanding young pianists in our conservatory.”

Malès’ generosity extends beyond the annual gifts he has made consistently since 2001 and his regular attendance at Lynn’s musical events. He also has taken a personal interest in conservatory students. He and his wife Barbara were season ticket holders to the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. When she passed away a few years ago, he continued to buy season tickets, inviting conservatory students to accompany him and his friends to performances.

“I think it’s important for them to get a feel for how other orchestras perform,” he said. “And now they can see the violist Jesse Yukimura performing with New World Symphony. He is an alumnus of Lynn so it’s very inspiring for them.”

Malès was an executive in the electric utility industry and the environmental field in both the Midwest and California, retiring 20 years ago to South Florida.

Born in Paris, he moved to the United States in 1940, to escape the war. Although he had “high hopes but no talent” as a pianist, Malès’ mother was an accomplished musician. She studied in Paris under the estimable Nadia Boulanger. His love of classical music blossomed in rich soil, indeed.

“He is a sophisticated listener,” Rust said, “with exquisite taste and a lifetime of musical enthusiasm.”

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