From 1974 to 2017...


An alumna of The French School of Music (Facebook page), Eileen Sauer was a student of Yvonne Combe who studied at the Paris Conservatory when Debussy, Fauré, Saint-Saëns and Ravel were alive and Fauré was Director of the Conservatory. Using only her 10 years of solfege and piano instruction from French School, Sauer spent over 30 years as a self-taught composer during her spare time and joined Juilliard's Evening Division starting in 2016. Her body of work done prior to 2016 is proof of the effectiveness of Combe's solfege and piano practice methodologies.


Eileen is the eighth of the known alumni from around the 70s to attend Juilliard, and others also attended Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, and more. Those who did not became doctors, lawyers, technologists, entrepreneurs, educators, etc.

While professional musicians generally focus on their conservatory work and not their early educational history, The French School of Music made conservatory access possible, by giving students a solid foundation in both technical skill and musicality.

Using one data point for reference, the 1974 Carnegie Recital Hall program pictured above has six French School students on the front cover - Kyoko Utsumi, Liz Du Four, Eileen Chang Sauer, Karen Rispoli, Vincent Di Mura, and Todd Weiss. These were the first prize gold cup winners. Inside the program are eight other students who won Summa cum laude, and of those eight students six were French School - Cindy de Vine, Edwin Tsuzuki, Karen Marcus, Mayo Tsuzuki, Wendy Jaffe, and Kyoko Misawa.