Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Helen E. Plinkiewisch Papers, 1888-1995

Biographical Note:

Helen Edwina Plinkiewisch, a 1929 graduate of Oregon State Agricultural College, had a long and successful career as a music educator in the public schools of Garden City (Long Island), New York.

She was born in 1908 in Portland, Oregon, and attended public schools in that city. After graduating from Jefferson High School in 1925, Plinkiewisch attended Oregon State Agricultural College, and received a diploma in music and theory in 1929. While at Oregon State, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority; was president of Euterpe, the women's music honorary society; was a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society; and was the accompanist for the Madrigal Club. After studying piano in Vienna and Rome for a year, she earned a B.S. in Music Education in 1931 from New York University and an M.S. in Education from Columbia University in 1934. In 1955, Plinkiewisch earned a Doctorate in Education (Music Education major) from Columbia. In 1935, she began teaching music at the Stewart School in Garden City, New York; she taught there until her retirement in 1974. At Stewart School, Plinkiewisch began to introduce her students to opera. She had them design and perform an abbreviated version of an opera to be performed by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Plinkiewisch received many accolades for her work in introducing opera to children.

She also taught part time at New Paltz State University (1953); Hofstra University (1953-1970); and Adelphi University (1972). Plinkiewisch wrote a number of musical compositions, a number of which were published, and wrote articles for several music magazines and journals. She served as an advisory member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Education Committee, and was a board member of several local music organizations. Helen Plinkiewisch died in 1994.

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