CHAMPAIGN – Eric Lionel Dalheim passed away at his residence on Monday (April 18, 2011).
Eric was born on Sept. 20, 1932, in Painesville, Ohio, to Mary Anna Wenzel Dalheim and Lionel Gustav Dalheim, who both preceded him in death. He married Barbara Burbridge on June 3, 1967, and she survives him.
They have two daughters, Jessica Dalheim of Springfield and Angela Dalheim Bruni (Massimo) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. He is also survived by four brothers, Theodore, John, Christopher and Timothy, all residing in Ohio.
Eric began his piano studies at the age of 7, and within several years was accompanying his father's voice students in their home. As a young boy he was a soprano in the Episcopal all-male choir with his father and younger brother Ted.
He attended the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory (1950-1955), where he was a member of the Synfonia Fraternity, graduating with bachelor degrees in Piano Performance and Music Education.
Following his time in undergraduate school, he spent two years in the Army, stationed mainly in Lyons, France. This gave him easy access to the major music centers of Europe and he took full advantage of it. By this time he had chosen vocal coaching and accompanying as his focus.
After returning from France, he spent two years accompanying in the voice studio of Burton Garlinghouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1959, he came to the University of Illinois, where he received a master's degree studying piano with Webster Aiken and Stanley Fletcher. He began his 43 years in the UI School of Music in 1961, retiring as professor emeritus in 2004.
He taught the graduate Vocal Literature class for 31 years, accompanying nearly thousands of voice students and faculty recitals.
In addition to his many performances each year in North America, Professor Dalheim was a co-editor and consultant for the Virtuoso Obbligato Aria Collection. In 1974, he was honored as a distinguished alumni of Baldwin-Wallace College.
He served as the official accompanist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Professor Dalheim was a frequent collaborator with fellow university faculty members for vocal recitals, instrumental solo recitals and chamber music concerts, as well as partnering with advanced student performers in required degree recitals.
He had assisted in nearly 1 1/2 dozen Thursday noon concerts at the new Mills Breast Cancer Institute, where some of the performers were doctors and staff members of the Carle Clinic and Foundation.
For several years he and Ronald Hedlund had performed songs of World War I through World War II locally and at the Veterans Home in Danville.
To quote the late tenor Jerry Hadley, Eric Dalheim was one of the "most quintessential and passionate teachers. ... He possesses that rare combination of genius and humility which are the hallmarks of all truly great artists."
Professor Dalheim collaborated with Mr. Hadley and cellist Barbara Hedlund in the Emmy award-winning PBS Performance Documentary, "The Song and the Slogan," by Daniel Crafts.
Eric was a devoted collector of vinyl recordings, volunteering every year at the Vintage Vinyl sale fundraiser for WILL radio. He also attended all the Ebertfest films, was an avid reader of mystery novels, and was a pocket billiards enthusiast - counting it no disgrace that he once lost an exhibition match to the legendary billiards master Willie Mosconi.
Visitation will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Morgan Funeral Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy. A musical memorial will be scheduled for a later date at the University of Illinois.
Memorials should be directed to the American Heart Association.