Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was in her early 30s when she became an Alpha Chi Omega.
Having begun her study of piano with her mother at a very early age, she progressed through study at the Cincinnati Conservatory to New York.
Because any American pianist hoping for a successful career at home was expected to study and debut in Europe,
she was privileged to study for a time with Franz Liszt as well as other renowned teachers of the day. Her official American debut took place in 1875 with the New York Philharmonic.
From there, she launched a well-received concert tour of the East and Midwest. A feature in A Hundred Years of Music in America on Mme.
Rivé-King indicates: Here opened a new chapter in the career of this artist. Henceforth for some time she appeared in recitals in all parts of the country, with programmes of enormous range and difficulty…. Nothing daunted this quiet woman.
Throughout her career, she received praise “not only for the quality of her interpretations and technical skill, but also for her long and varied programs,
which included Bach and Beethoven alongside Chopin and Liszt, her former teacher. Her ability to play everything from memory was considered extraordinary.
An item in the 1911 History about Alpha Alpha alumnae chapter, Chicago, Illinois, indicates that Julie was the guest of honor at one of their annual banquets.
By the time of her death in 1937, Julie Rivé-King had established herself as a pianist,
composer, arranger and teacher—and valued honorary member of Alpha Chi Omega.
As indicated in the 1935 History, the practice of initiating honorary members was discontinued in 1919 “to conform with standards established by the National Panhellenic Congress.”
The 1919 Convention minutes state that “provision for initiation of honorary members was stricken from the Constitution and Code.”
The 1916 History, published prior to the elimination of this practice, leaves no doubt as to the value of honorary members to the early chapters of Alpha Chi Omega.
It states: The acquisition for membership of many of the most distinguished musicians in the colleges,
and the giving by the Fraternity of concerts of high order, and of interesting amateur dramatic productions,
combined to give to the earliest chapters, as they soon recognized, ‘an unique and enviable standing in the college and the community.
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