Remembering Adrian Daly

Adrian Daly’s sharp intellect, kindness, intelligence, wit, and generosity will long be remembered by his friends, family, colleagues, and current and former students around the world. Below are memories and tributes from those who knew, loved, worked with, and admired Adrian.


Like many in the Eastman community, I first came to know Adrian as one of the school’s greatest ambassadors.

I first experienced his ability to genuinely connect with just about anybody in early 2005. I was one of many emerging musicians in Rochester for an Eastman audition. And while this pivotal day could have seemed impersonal and intimidating, Adrian set the stage differently. As he began his welcome in Eastman Theatre, addressing the hundreds set to audition, it was apparent that Adrian — and thus all of Eastman — was rooting for each auditionee. Throughout the day, it was clear that he and his team had done everything possible to make the day as rewarding as it could be.

A few weeks later, I was fortunate to receive one of his “great news” phone calls: an invitation to study in Rochester. While I was over the moon with the news, I vividly remember how the conversation was so meaningful because of the interaction with Adrian. From that first call, it was apparent he was a cheerleader for musicians and someone who advocated for their success. His authentic and trustworthy nature again came across.

Once in Rochester, I saw how his comprehensive knowledge of the community was not just an admissions stunt. He had extensive insight into how to thrive at Eastman and beyond. He readily shared this perspective, whether in his top-rated career development courses or his previous leadership of the school’s Career Center. Fortunately, a graduate fellowship in this office meant opportunities to connect with him about its past, present, and future, including through the Network of Music Career Development Officers.

He was one of those mentors who became a friend, perhaps because he truly cared about my past, present, and future. I appreciated how he helped me connect with opportunities in ways that set me up for success. I will miss the calls, meals (and drinks), and comradery that was present every time we connected.

Casey Molino Dunn


It was an honor to serve with Adrian twice as a visiting evaluator team – him as lead – for community music schools seeking reaccreditation. I admired his knowledge and generosity in volunteering so many times over the years in this capacity, especially with such a full schedule otherwise, and his kindness, clarity and sincere helpfulness in speaking with the school leadership on the visits. Please accept my deepest condolences for this tremendous loss.

Kathy Judd
Washington Conservatory of Music


My deepest condolence! Always remember the wonderful time we had together in Shanghai and Solon Ohio. I am so grateful to have Adrian in my life.

Karl Zou


I share with hundreds of mutual friends and acquaintances the heartbreak, shock, and grief for the sudden loss of my good friend of 30 years. Adrian Daly was one of my closest friends at Eastman, he was my piano teacher, my fellow RA, armchair psychotherapist, sounding board, unlimited source of encouragement…man, it all just starts to come back and has continued to wash over me these last weeks. We went on road trips, hung out in his dorm hundreds and hundreds of nights watching Letterman, accomplished heroic feats (heroic for _us_, anyway) of Tae Kwon Do together, listened to thousands of hours of music, and talked about all the Big Questions into innumerable late nights. And we have kept up with each other all these years.

It’s hard to encapsulate what this loss entails for me, but I will relate this most recent experience with my friend:
In May of this year, I was so lucky to hang out with him in person a couple of times in Helsinki. We talked about all the Very Silly Things and all our old friends, and all the Big Questions, as we always did. We laughed ourselves into almost a panic, like, trying to catch enough breath kind of thing—you know? Faces full of tears recovering. We talked about family and old friends. We talked about Ireland, where I had just managed to visit for the first time. And of course, we talked about the recent, sudden loss of my brother. Adrian—a recent survivor of lung cancer—offered me, yet again, the gifts of his unparalleled capacity for really listening to you, his tremendous perspective on things, his gratitude for life, and his boundless optimism, no matter how bleak everything seems sometimes. True to form, the last time I saw him, he was helping me heal. I will miss him forever.

Alex Freeman


I am a piano student at the Colburn Music Academy so I’ve had many interactions with Dr. Daly. He was the very first person I spoke to at the Music Academy. He was always so kind, compassionate and encouraging, his care and love for our school really shone through. He was also so responsible, intelligent and a great mentor, in addition to being an excellent pianist. One memory of his cherished impact I have was when he came to watch my first collaborative performance with the Dance Academy back in November 2022. He was the one who introduced me to the opportunity, and even when it was just a small performance in Grand Rehearsal Hall, I was so grateful to see him in the audience and exchange some words with him afterwards.

He always had the most encouraging comments to say, especially after my performances at our Music Academy MAYAPs. Sometimes he would recall learning those same pieces back in his D.M.A. days at Eastman. If only he could know how much these moments meant to me.

I am forever thankful for our conversations, his encouraging words, and for being the man behind the best moments. Thank you, Dr. Daly. Colburn Academy won’t be the same without you. May he rest in peace.

Lillian Feng


Hello, my name is Alex, I am 8 years old and I am studying instruments at Colburn School. Mr. Daly is a very nice person. When I heard this sad news, I thought it was not true. I asked my mom: “Wait a minute, there is an heart-attack . Do you know a person was passed away, but he will still be alive after a while.” My mom cried after hearing what I said. I don’t particularly know what death it is, but I know that I will never meet Mr. Daly at Colburn School again. He is a person I like very much. We met often at the piano camp this summer. He helped me a lot, I asked Mr. Daly this summer that we could meet again when school starts in the fall, but I didn’t wait for him. I was so sad. I wish he can live in my memory and I know how he looks like.

Alexander Wang


Sending lots of love from Ireland, from some of Adrian’s former classmates at Trinity College Dublin. A few of us are meeting up to join the service by zoom and to remember Adrian, who was so talented, so friendly and always so kind. We will miss him and his wonderful energy. Condolences to his family.
Slán agus beannacht, xxx

Eleanor McEvoy


My family was so sorry to hear about the loss.

Provost Daly was kind to anyone who needed help. My son, Andy, went to LA in January to registe in Colburn Academy Project as a newcomer from Canada, but unfortunately he was told by the landlord that the booking of the apartment was cancelled when he checked in. We occasionaly met Provest Daly and mentioned that in the Cafeteria at a lunch time after we have been blocked in a hotel for several days. It is unbelivable that Mr Daly noted down my email address and sent me an email just the afternoon. I would like to share the long email with you:

Hi again,
So nice to have you here at Colburn.

So, I just asked our Residential Life manager about the dorm. We actually have a bed that Andy could use on the Music Academy floor, with other male students in the Music Academy, including Muyang Wu, a student from Beijing and others – a student from Australia and 2 or 3 others in a suite of six.

So, that is an immediate option – he can move in any time – if you wanted to, we could plan for that this weekend, or Monday, or anytime….

I did talk to Museum Tower and they explained to me that their policy revolves around not having an American bank account for at least two months. And unfortunately, we can’t act as guarantor for a student, so I don’t think that the Museum Tower option is going to work for the family, but Andy can live in the dorm all semester, and if he wishes to live there next year, we can certainly consider that as well.

Please let me know as soon as you can what you would like to do regarding the bed in the dorm for Andy.

Best wishes,
Adrian Daly

Me and my wife are listening to the song “In My Life” in the silent night in Shanghai China in memory of Provost Daly: “There are places I’ll remember….”. Thank you Provost Daly!

Spencer & Anna Liu


The last time I was in Los Angeles I had one of those long dinners with Adrian Daly that just went on forever but felt like no time at all.  We talked about so many different things in our personal lives and some about our time together at the Colburn School.  I had been the Associate Dean for Dance for several years while he was our Provost.  I had left Colburn to move to the east coast but was back as a guest for the week and reconnecting with old friends and colleagues.  The dinner was fantastic and when we said goodbye, I gave him a hug.

This was one of the first times we had gotten together after I had stopped working at Colburn and he was no longer my supervisor.  Given our employment relationship prior to this, we were not the type to hug when saying goodbye, but we had not seen each other in over a year, Covid was coming to an end, and we had spent my entire last year working with him connecting only through Zoom or behind multiple masks.   Prior to the pandemic, we used to have regular in-person meetings together in his office and would often enjoy personal conversations outside on the plaza.  I missed seeing him on a regular basis and missed working with him.

To make this post-dinner parting hug more awkward, even though no alcohol was involved, I tripped a little bit on an uneven sidewalk as I was leaning in to say goodbye and he caught me.  I could tell that the hug was unexpected and the fact that a good part of my body weight was now really committed was all the more surprising.  I had tried to go in for the typical half committed one-armed, shoulder in the chest “bro-hug” but it ended up being a real genuine two-armed hug.

We said goodnight and both went our separate ways.  The conclusion to the night was awkward but also something that I think we were glad that happened.  Over the years and especially that night, we had gotten to know each other well.  We were not best friends, but we did share our successes and failures, our strengths and our vulnerabilities and I considered him a friend and a mentor.

As many who know Adrian also know that he battled some pretty big challenges in his life in the recent past.  The incredible character and perseverance that he demonstrated throughout that time was a daily inspiration.  He was a great leader in how he helped us all at the school through his wisdom and acumen but for me it was how he lived his life that I found so inspiring.  He was strong when he was vulnerable, funny when things were tense or awkward, kind when he had to be tough and a model example in teaching about work and life even if we didn’t always agree.

I think about how the last time I saw him it ended in that awkward hug.  I am now so thankful that we dropped the formalities of our work relationship and that an uneven sidewalk caused us to have a heartfelt and genuine goodbye that evening.  I had no idea that it would be the last time that I would see him, but it will be a memory of friendship, mentorship and camaraderie that I will always associate with Adrian as he endures in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

James Fayette


Still in shock. It is hard to reconcile my nonagenarianism with such an untimely bereavement. Never has indulgence in superlatives been more appropriate. Adrian was truly an outstanding human being – a gentleman of many parts. And it is probably the sheer spectrum of his virtues that defies any hope of covering them adequately. Fun-loving as much as he could be serious, he always brought sunshine into my life as his principal teacher in Ireland. But it was his remembering all our exchanges, in later life, that again set him apart. He never failed to visit me whenever he came to Ireland, and always came with an agenda that could pass the hours pleasantly.

I can remember the day when Adrian’s dad flatteringly asked me to take him as a pupil, while Adrian stood by with that angelic look, in a veritable cloud of blonde hirsuteness, which lasted for many years. His genius was always discreetly disguised but not when it came to the repertoire he wanted to play, including chestnuts from the standard repertoire—Op. 11 of both Chopin and Schumann (the e minor Concerto and the f sharp minor Sonata). But it was in the twentieth century that he eventually proved himself – serial works of Kenneth Leighton, the second sonata of Michael Tippett and eventually the Sonata of Elliott Carter, which guaranteed him a place for a doctorate at Eastman (without further audition). His Bartok Third Concerto was noteworthy, too. And if memory serves me correctly, he had no difficulty in finding the most beautiful as the most talented lady partners when it came to his extensive duet repertoire (also always 20 C and played impeccably from memory).

His Glee Club appearance in Dublin as pianist for the South Bend group is still vivid in my mind’s eye, as is his sitting with me in the National Concert Hall for the wonderful concert by Colburn students and orchestra. Adrian instinctively knew exactly how he should behave, always with aplomb and propriety. But everything he did concealed a loyalty that was obvious to everyone who knew him, for we all felt individually favoured by his attentions. Talented, committed, kind, thoughtful, respectful, efficient, friendly . . . he had it all and more in abundance . . . . all the more reason to miss now that he is gone before his time. Rest in peace, dear Adrian, and thank you for all the joy you brought into my life, and all the perfect memories you leave behind. And I am not ashamed of my manly tears either . . . if only they could coax you back.

Frank Heneghan


Adrian lived his life as a force for good, kindness, and laughter. He will be so dearly missed by all who loved him and especially the generations of young musicians who were impacted by his leadership. Sending love and prayers especially to Eriko and his beautiful children. His memory will truly remain a blessing.

Jennie Oh Brown


I spent a short time at Colburn during the pandemic, but Adrian had a lasting impression on me. He was always concerned with the students’ well-being and was welcoming to me. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Shawn Smith


Provost Adrian’s passing came as shocking news to us all, as we met at Colburn graduation ceremony just several months ago. He was not just a respected figure in the Colburn music school; he was a warm, kind-hearted, and incredibly supportive mentor to our children.

When Olive Trio embarked on their journey to the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and later visited Finland for an exchange program, Provost Adrian played a pivotal role in making it a truly unforgettable experience, from scheduling to recording and accommodations.

I will forever be grateful for the extraordinary kindness he showed towards my son, Daniel. When Daniel’s arrival in Finland required a different schedule, Provost Adrian changed his flight to accompany Daniel, ensuring his safety and well-being.

Beyond his professional duties, Provost Adrian was a genuinely kind and affable person. The children adored working with him, not just because of his expertise but also because of the warmth and compassion he brought to every interaction. He created an environment where they felt valued, encouraged, and inspired.

Provost Adrian’s passing is an immeasurable loss to the entire Colburn community. His legacy will forever live on in the hearts of the countless students and families he touched with his wisdom, kindness, and unwavering support. We will all miss him dearly.

With deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences,

Hanmin Wang, Jingnan Li


Adrian was a phenomenal leader and administrator who provided exceptional service at every institution that was fortunate to have him. He was a wonderful colleague and a good friend.

Godspeed, Adrian- we miss you.

David Stull
President, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


Provost Daly went with Sonarsix to Fischoff chamber competition in May 2022. He was so kind to be our page-turner for the competition and drove us from Chicago all the way to South Bend. He took such amazing care of all of us and we had such a beautiful time with him.

Martha Chan


The National Association of Schools of Music is overwhelmed and heartbroken to learn of the passing of Provost Adrian Daly.

We extend to Provost Daly’s family members and the entire Colburn community deepest sympathies for this sudden and untimely loss. May you find comfort in the sharing of memories and the company of and support provided by family, friends, and colleagues.

Adrian served countless students, the field of music, higher education, and NASM with high and praiseworthy distinction. He is warmly remembered for his vast and engaging intellect, as well as his cordial and kind demeanor. Adrian is a gentle soul taken from all with whom he had contact far too soon.

There is no doubt that Provost Daly’s contributions to the field of music will live on in those touched by his work and compassion. We are grateful to have had the good fortune to work with and know him.

Karen P. Moynahan
Executive Director, National Association of Schools of Music


There are no words that can describe how grateful we are to have known you. We had the privilege of having you by our side and sharing a stage with you for two consecutive Fischoff Competitions. You ensured that we focused on being the best musicians we could be, and you made sure that we were not only ready to go onstage but insisted the stage was set up correctly for us before we walked on. Your willingness to sit beside us and turn pages exemplified your unconditional generosity and kindness, traits of a leader and human, and traits that we will strive to emulate in honor of you. Our experiences at Fischoff and at Colburn, and our lives, have been made richer with your support and leadership.

We are terribly saddened but so grateful for the time we shared with you,
Holly Lacey, Nathaniel Yue, Qiao Tiger Zhang
for the The Nth Trio


Adrian was a wonderful friend. I met him in Chicago where we were judging the Western Alliance Competition. We were laughing at the deliberation because our critics were similar and we were using the same words. I enjoyed traveling with him to china, talking about the future of Colburn. He had wonderful ideas. I was lucky to play a faculty showcase with him and I was amazed by his organic way of playing the piano in our two Kreisler pieces. I will always cherish the privileged moments I spent with him and working with him. I miss my friend.

Henry Gronnier


I have too many memories to share here….I’ve known Adrian since he was a DMA student at the Eastman School. We worked at Eastman together, lived in Cleveland at the same time, and when he took the job at Colburn, my wife said, “I guess we’re moving to LA!”. And sure enough, a headhunter contacted me in less than a month, and I took on a job at CalArts moving to LA. Our professional paths have crossed in these American cities, but internationally as well, meeting up for dinners in Seoul, Beijing, and Bangkok over the years, when we found ourselves in the same cities at the same time. Adrian has been a constant for most of my professional and personal adult life. He has been simultaneously a friend, a colleague, and a brother. Too many memories to even start to share. Like everyone who knew him, I miss him deeply.

Bob Borden


The dapper young man in the sports coat and tie on the far left of this grainy photo is my friend Adrian. This is the class of legendary Irish piano teacher Frank Heneghan, and Adrian would have been about eighteen at the time.

In his own quiet way, Adrian was the leader of our little group. As we travelled for masterclasses, competitions and other musical events, Adrian’s wit, kindness and quiet presence was a steadying influence even on giddy youngsters like myself. In the sometimes tense world of music competitions, having a companion who was purely fun (and funny) was a great relief.

As a young pianist, Adrian revelled in the challenges of contrapuntal works like Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. His musical curiosity blazed some trails, for instance by bringing the Tippett and Ginastera Sonatas to the attention of Irish audiences to name just two.

Adrian moved to the USA from Ireland at postgraduate level and we missed him terribly. However, the class of Frank Heneghan kept in contact throughout the years, supporting each other and celebrating our successes, grounded in a strong friendship and childhood bond. I was delighted to visit Adrian in September 2022 at Colburn, to see how much this amazing school and its students meant to him.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam (May he rest in peace).

Deborah Kelleher
Director, Royal Irish Academy of Music
President, European Association of Conservatoires (AEC)


Adrian Daly had a profound effect on all who had the privilege of knowing him. His kind, gentle and self-effacing manner, combined with that of Sel Kardan, set a tone for Colburn for which we are grateful.

Anne Grausam


I knew Adrian and considered him a friend. We always had pleasant conversations. He was an important part of the Colburn School family. I will miss him.

Stephen Sherman MD


I am writing to share my condolences and sympathy with Adrian’s family and friends and share a fun memory that I hope will make everyone smile through the sadness.

I had the joy of knowing Adrian for many years via our network of music admissions professionals. We all looked up to Adrian as one of the finest in our field and admired his ascent to Provost at Colburn. We adored and respected him.

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of joining Adrian as guests of Dr. Jamal Rossi (Dean, Eastman School of Music) and his wonderful wife Pam for a dinner out at NASM’s national meeting, and I’m incredibly grateful we were all able to spend that time together. Early in our conversation, Adrian talked about his children and how proud he was of them. Although Adrian’s eyes always had that beguiling sparkle that we all adored, they were especially aglow as he spoke of them. He talked about his health challenges and told me he was happy he was to feel healthy again. The conversation was effortless and joyful as we dined together. As a rabid Gamecock football fan and alumna, I was openly following the University of South Carolina football game against the University of Tennessee that same night; the unranked Gamecocks were expected to be crushed by the #6 ranked Volunteers (who appeared to be headed to the college football playoffs). Miraculously, we were winning, and at the end of dinner I became very distracted by the game showing on the big screen TVs at the restaurant’s bar. Jamal (who had been the dean at South Carolina who hired me), Pam, and Adrian were quick to join me in the Gamecock fandom, and we moved to the bar to see the end of the game. Exhilarated as the last seconds ticked away, I told all three of them that they will forever be my Gamecock good luck charms, and they were great sports when I asked them to take a post-game victory photo (which I will include here, too). They all even joined me in the Gamecock spur hand gesture and a Gamecock toast.

The next day, I gleefully told the current Dean of the South Carolina School of Music, Tayloe Harding, how fun it was that Pam and two of the leaders of the finest music institutions in the world were so cool about me hijacking the end of our dinner with Gamecock football watching. I remember telling Tayloe what a pleasure it is for us to work in a field with such kind, fun, good people who also happen to be truly exceptional in their music careers and who positively touch the lives of thousands in their work.

I contacted Jamal after Adrian’s death, sharing my sympathy with him and expressing gratitude for inviting the two of us to join him and Pam that night, and he wrote: “Thanks for the reminder of a fun and memorable night. We have to cherish our friends, family, and blessings, and do so in the moment.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thank you, Adrian, for being a caring, compassionate friend, for helping me cheer the Gamecocks to an epic, long-distance victory, and for being part of a special night I’ll never forget (and thanks for humoring me and taking that photo, too. I’ll always cherish it.).

Jennifer Jablonski, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management
University of South Carolina School of Music


My first memory of Adrian is from a Graduate Student Association mixer at the Eastman School of Music in the early 1990s. After just a quick introduction to each other, we quickly conspired to collect a few new friends and reconvene at MacGregor’s Pub for the Guinness draft special. I recall Adrian slyly commenting on the beer and the New York wings, and how much better things tasted back home. Early on I knew from Adrian’s quick wit and easy charm that I would always seek him out for a good time, or to just take a convivial break from the Rochester snow and the stress of graduate school.

Adrian and I took different paths throughout our professional musical journeys — he navigated progressively important leadership posts at the best music schools in the land, and I went into the performance world as a violinist and then to orchestra management. When I returned to academia just two years ago, I reconnected with Adrian for some advice. I found him to be the same wonderfully irreverent yet caring and slightly mischievous friend, and from the scores of remembrances from around the world, I know I was not alone in loving any time I got to spend with him. Adrian, of course, knew all the answers to my thorny music school questions and meted out his easy wisdom without batting an eye.

I last saw him in November, in LA, where he treated me to dinner at his favorite Omakase in Little Tokyo. It’s rare to have people in one’s life where the passage of time just doesn’t matter, and where the connections of a shared history are all you really need to feel at home.

Adrian was a friend to many people, yet he always managed to make it seem like he was first and foremost, your friend. What a gift he was to us all —

Matthew Loden
Dean, Shepherd School of Music
Rice University