Remembering Eva Lazar Gabriel ’49: Vocal Performance at Wagner

Remembering Eva Lazar Gabriel ’49: Vocal Performance at Wagner


Wagner College lost a dear friend and patron of the arts in June 2020, Eva Lazar Gabriel ‘49.  Through the generosity of her only daughter, Dr. Sylvia Clark, however, Eva’s passion for music and her students will continue at Wagner.  After her mother passed on June 17, 2020, Sylvia directed contributions in her memory to Wagner College.  Sylvia started and endowed a new student award to honor her mother’s dedication to her students.

The inaugural Eva Lazar Gabriel Music Award was given out this spring to Brian Metcalf ’22, who is pursuing a BA in Vocal Performance. Brian is in the first class of Vocal Performance majors at Wagner College.  Professor Thomas Juneau, Director of Choral Activities at Wagner College, proudly selected Brian because he embodied the love for music that Eva possessed.  Professor Vincent Grana, Director of Opera Workshop, echoed the choice. “Brian's love of music shines through in everything he does.  From the studio to the stage, Brian pours all of his enthusiasm and talent into every phrase he sings."

Brian was the Assistant Conductor of the Wagner College Choir this past year, presented his junior-year vocal performance recital, and performed in Wagner College Opera Workshop's production of "The Magic Flute" by W.A. Mozart in May. “Brian is an outstanding student and performer at Wagner College. He is a wonderful leader among his peers. I am very proud that Brian is the first recipient of the Eva Lazar Gabriel Music Award,” said Prof. Juneau.  Brian was thrilled with the honor, “Wagner offers such an amazing experience that you cannot get at a large university. From the friendships I've made here, to the professors who've helped me along the way, Wagner provides me with an amazing college experience!! Once I graduate, I plan to share the gift of music and singing, and hopefully, one day get my Doctorate in Music.”  We are sure that Eva is looking down smiling, proud of her legacy.

About Eva

Eva Lazar Gabriel was a classically-trained musician whose affiliation with Wagner College spanned more than half a century.  Beginning in 1965 as a faculty wife, she later became a longtime member of the Music Department, an honorary alumna, and a key part of the Wagner College Guild.  Eva had been born in Hungary but cherished the many freedoms afforded by her adopted country.  Eva was a music teacher at Wagner College from 1971 to 1986 and a longtime member of the Wagner College Guild.  Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1932, Eva studied at the prestigious Franz Liszt Music Conservatory before fleeing the country with her first husband in the wake of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. She came to the United States in the late 1950s and moved to Staten Island in 1965, quickly becoming part of the cultural and artistic fabric of the community. After teaching at Wagner College, Eva opened the Lazar Vocal Studio in her home, donating the profits she earned to cultural and environmental organizations on Staten Island. The recipient of numerous awards from local organizations, Eva was named a Staten Island Advance Woman of Achievement in 1997 and an American Association of University Women Woman of Distinction in 2019.

To secure Eva’s legacy at Wagner, Sylvia also plans to have a music room at Wagner named for her mother.  “I grew up steps away from Wagner’s campus,” said Sylvia.  “I want all Wagner’s music students to remember my mother as they take classes.  I hope her legacy will be to inspire future generations of musicians and vocalists.”

Wagner College Junior Vocal Performance Majors celebrate after a weekend of Junior Recital performances. From left to right Connor Nelson, Hannah Sapitan, Ruth Sytsma, Brian Metcalf, and Tommy Folderauer 

 Brian Metcalf, tenor   Giovanni Longo, piano