Born and raised in Aurora, Minnesota, Veda Zuponcic began her piano studies at the age of 5 with Dorothy Crost Bourgin of Virginia, MN, taking the Greyhound bus by herself from Aurora every Friday afternoon, under the watchful eye of the bus drivers. She went on to study at Indiana University with the great pianist and pedagogue Sidney Foster, where she distinguished herself by winning the Concerto Competition and the Performers Certificate, earning Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Further studies were with Ilona Kabos in New York and London.
Miss Zuponcic made her formal European debut in 1971 as a recipient of a Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant. Critics in London, Vienna, Amsterdam and Berlin noted her “powerful and fluent technique, intelligent interpretations, and her natural affinity for Romantic composers.” London Times. Her recital in London in 1990 prompted this review, also from the London Times: Miss Zuponcic is absolute mistress of Romantic syntax, phrases burgeoning with an effortless rubato. Her successful American debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in 1973 was followed by recital and orchestral performances throughout the United States. Her 1989 recital at Carnegie Recital Hall received this review from the NY Times: Veda Zuponcic played an uncompromisingly difficult piano program on Monday evening at Weill Recital Hall. Miss Zuponcic, who is the head of the music department at Glassboro (N. J.) State College, is a formidable player, with an unwaveringly strong technique, and clear well-considered ideas about the music she played. Her opener, the first performance of Vivian Fine's ''Toccatas and Arias 1987,'' set the tone of the evening. The work requires finger power and concentration. Miss Zuponcic sailed through its thunderous explorations of the keyboard's full range with clarity and apparent ease.
She has performed hundreds of concerts on four continents, including more than 100 in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. She has recorded two CDs for Melodiya.
Her first academic position was as Instructor at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. She began her tenure at Glassboro State College/ Rowan University in 1971. She has presented master classes throughout the world, including the Oxford Piano Festival, the Eastman School of Music; Shizuoka (Japan) College; Temple University, Samuel Barber Piano Festival at West Chester University; Cleveland State University; the Barcelona Conservatory, the Porumbesco Conservatory in Moldova, the Kharkov Conservatory in Ukraine; the Belgorod Conservatory in Russia; the Tashkent Conservatory in Uzbekistan; the Zagreb Conservatory; the Ljubljana Conservatory (Slovenia), the Music College of Guangzhou, China; and many others. She was a guest professor at the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory for a semester. She has served on juries of major piano competitions, including the Gina Bachauer Junior and the Gina Bachauer Senior Competitions; the MTNA National Competitions; the Eastman Competition; and many others. Her former collegiate and pre-college students are performing and teaching in educational institutions throughout the world; as well as enjoying music as a lifetime avocation. Nine of her students have reached the National Finals of the MTNA Competitions, several winning prizes at this prestigious competition.
She is in frequent demand as a clinician and speaker, including the MTNA National Conference’s Pedagogy Saturday; and has created several Webinars for MTNA. She was national chairperson for MTNA’s Pedagogy Saturday Artistic Track, for the 2021 MTNA National Conference. Recent presentations included a lecture on Chinese-American Educational Partnerships; and a master class for The Classical Singer/Pianists Competition in Guangzhou, China; and a session on fingerings, “Sleight of Hand” for MTNA National Conference in March 2020 in Chicago. (cancelled due to Covid.) She founded and was Artistic Director of the Hollybush Festival at Rowan between 1981 and 1990, producing the Soviet-American season in 1987 which brought the Kirov Ballet to the Glassboro Campus.
She is currently the Artistic Director of the Northern Lights Music Festival in Aurora, MN, which produces professional opera, chamber and symphonic music each month of July; in addition to an integrated summer music school for gifted young people. She was one of 40 persons inaugurated into the Steinway and Sons Teacher’s Hall of Fame in October, 2019.
She is charmed and honored that the beautiful auditorium in the Aurora High School (Mesabi East) has been named the Veda Zuponcic Auditorium as a result of her years of bringing classical music and opera to our hometown region of the Mesabi Range in northern Minnesota.