Obituary: Zita CoganZita Cogan, who in the 1960s turned the University's struggling professional music series into a critical success and whose admirers included Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow, died July 24 in her Hyde Park home. She was 79.
Cogan took over the University's Professional Concert Series -- known then as "University Concerts" -- in 1961 when she was a secretary with the Music Department. Under her watchful eye, the series blossomed into the premiere chamber music series in the Midwest, with the number of subscribers growing from 36 to over 500. Cogan brought many artists to the University early in their careers, including Andras Schiff, Richard Stoltzman, the Vermeer Quartet and classical pianist Peter Serkin.
Cogan was Director of the series until 1988 and remained a consultant and volunteer of the series until the time of her death. Last spring, she was honored by Mostly Music, a group she co-founded, which produces concerts in Hyde Park. Tributes from her friends Bellow and Studs Terkel were read during the ceremony.
Born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, Cogan was a pianist who taught for 16 years at the Chicago Jewish Academy before coming to the University.
She is survived by her son, Marc, of Ypsilanti, Mich. A memorial service will be held on campus later this quarter. Call the Music Department at 702-8484 for more information.