Search Google Appliance


The Oregonian: Remembering Nina (Lowry) Marucci, who ran many Portland State University cultural activities
Author: David Stabler
Posted: May 19, 2014

Read the original article in The Oregonian here.

Even 23 years after she moved to Paris, mention the name Nina around Portland State University and people know you're talking about Nina Lowry. A force of musical nature, by turns impresario, maven and connector of people, Lowry ran Friends of Chamber Music from 1978 to 1991 and led, with Harold Gray, PSU's piano series, now called Portland Piano International. She also had her hand in many of the university's other cultural activities as well as Chamber Music Northwest and the Northwest Film Center.

Lowry, who took her maiden name Nina Marucci after she moved to a suburb of Paris in 1991, died of digestive-tract failure Feb. 8.

Marucci lived and breathed culture. She was among the first to bring to Portland the Royal Lichtenstein Circus, percussion master Zakir Hussein; British actress Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter series) and American poet and author Edward Field. At her homes she hosted performers such as composer John Cage, the Joffrey Ballet and El Teatro Campesino. 

"She was just so knowledgeable about music," says Pat Zagelow, who took over Friends of Chamber Music and the piano series when Marucci left. "She had a fine head for what was good. No nonsense. She got things done."

Friends of Chamber Music dedicated this past season, its 75th, to Marucci.

Some of her parting advice was "just hilarious," Zagelow says. "She knew everybody in the audience. She'd say, 'Now don't seat this person next to her -- they got divorced. Put him on Tuesday, his ex comes on Monday'."

Nina Jo Marucci grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, daughter of Henrietta and Virginio. Kay Corbett, the prominent Portland philanthropist, hired her to run student programs at what was then Portland State College, later to be Portland State University.

Nina's sons Pete, of Verrieres, France, and Sam, of Portland; daughters-in-law Helene and Elaine; and grandsons Simon and Eric ask that memorial gifts go to an arts group of the giver's choice. A memorial event may be held this summer.