Monson Named One of Virginia’s Influential Women of 2014

Posted: June 27, 2014 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: July 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

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By Jamie Rogers

It’s a sunny Friday on the George Mason University’ Fairfax Campus and Linda Apple Monson is seated at a Steinway grand piano in the deLaski Performing Arts Building, playing works by the classical masters. To see her perform is to see happiness.

Perhaps this happiness and passion for the performing arts is what led to the distinguished professor of music’s most recent recognition: being named an Influential Women of Virginia honoree.

Influential Women-Monson Piano

School of Music professor Linda Apple Monson poses at the piano. Photo by Creative Services.

The 2014 honorees are female movers and shakers in the commonwealth who were nominated after making noted contributions to their professions, their communities and society.

The honor is presented annually by the Richmond-based publication Virginia Lawyers Weekly. The 2014 Influential Women of Virginia awards were presented in May at a banquet at the Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa.

“They are incredible women and amazing leaders,” Monson says of the other recipients of the award. “Each of these women has chosen to make their life count by helping others in significant ways.”

Monson makes it count by helping people through music.

“In a nutshell, one gets to make a difference in a profound way,” she says of teaching music, something she’s done for 15 years at George Mason.

As the managing director of the School of Music within Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Monson says she gets to work with a talented team to lead and guide curriculum, budget and assessment related to national accreditation for the arts and to help shape a dynamic school of music.

Named Mason’s 2012 Faculty Member of the Year, Monson is also an International Steinway Artist. She says she enjoys helping students who want immersion into the music world through performance, teaching and research, but aren’t yet sure how to do it. “To me, that’s really exciting,” she says.

Monson teaches her students to work hard, prepare thoroughly, make no excuses and to view each performance as a gift to the audience. When performing, she feels it is key to reject any insecurities or self-doubt one may have and keep the mind on sharing the music.

“The composer writes the music, but the performer brings it to life,” she says. “Always have an attitude of gratitude to be able to say, ‘what a privilege it is to share this music.’”

Aside from teaching, performing and administration, Monson enjoys building deep community roots, particularly through her work with Friends of Music at Mason, a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting music students through raising funds for scholarships and building community awareness of student excellence.

Write to Jamie Rogers at jroger20@gmu.edu

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