Gail F. McDonald, pianist and music teacher

March 11, 2013

Gail F. McDonald, 95, a piano soloist and longtime music teacher, died March 3 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County.

She had an intestinal hemorrhage, her daughter, Lora Ferguson, said.

Dr. McDonald, an Arlington resident who had previously lived in Oxon Hill, gave private piano lessons from 1950 until shortly before her death. She performed at the National Gallery and with the Friday Morning Music Club, group of District area musicians.

She recorded the complete solo piano works of Daniel Gregory Mason, an early 20th-century composer, and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words.”

Dr. McDonald was president of the Maryland State Music Teachers Association from 1977 to 1981 and a member of several other music teachers’ groups. She was also a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers and served as an adjudicator for many years.

Goldie Faber was born in Jersey City. She later legally changed her first name to Gail.

She received a diploma in the 1930s from what was then the Mannes School of Music, now Mannes College, part of the New School in New York. In the 1950s, she received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in music from Catholic University. She received a doctorate in piano performance from Maryland in about 1974.

She was a member of Temple Micah, a Reform synagogue in Washington.

Her first marriage, to Irving Richter, ended in divorce.

Her second husband, Angus McDonald, died in 1990 after 44 years of marriage. Her third husband, Robert Greenberg, died in 1995, and her fourth husband, George Walther, died in 2001.

Survivors include two children from her first marriage, Lora Ferguson of Arlington and Charles McDonald of Boynton Beach, Fla.; a son from her second marriage, Henry McDonald of Norman, Okla.; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel

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