Charles Eble, 40BA, owner and operator of the Eble Music Company in Iowa City for nearly 40 years, has not only had a profound impact on the quality of music education in the region, but has also earned a reputation for service to musicians around the world.
While he was an undergraduate studying piano at the University of Iowa, Eble became interested in collecting new literature and music on an international scale. As personal secretary to School of Music Director Philip Greeley Clapp, Eble made contacts with European publishers and book and music dealers who could provide new editions of works for the American market.
After completing his military service during World War II, Eble did three years of graduate study in English at the UI and taught briefly at Northwestern University. He returned to Iowa City in 1950 to purchase the community's only music store. As he built a thriving music business, Eble continued his allegiance to the UI Department of Music, accompanying Professor Himie Voxman to Europe in 1954 to procure the first of the Music Library's now extraordinary collection of rare books.
Eble's remarkable knowledge of repertoire, his uncanny ability to locate rare editions of books and music, and his commitment to assist and to serve his clients, whether they be renowned international performers or students struggling on a limited budget, have been important ingredients for his entrepreneurial success.
Today, it is said, representatives of Europe's finest music houses consider Eble one of just a few indispensable contacts in the United States. It is not uncommon for Eble to open his store at odd hours so visiting artists can browse through his collections, and he will do the same for grade school musicians anxiously awaiting their contest scores.
As president of the Bruckner Society of America, Eble has been instrumental in promoting the music of Bruckner and Mahler. As a conscientious patron of music education, he has provided generous support for many music organizations, including the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Eble is a major contributor to the University of Iowa's music scholarship fund and is a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.