Monday, February 15, 2016
Arlene P. Kies

Arlene Pepe Kies died peacefully at home on February 11, 2016, following a two-year battle with cancer. She confronted her illness with dignity, strength and grace, and continued to support and be present for the people she loved. Her surviving loved ones include her husband, Christopher; her daughters, Antonietta, Marianne and Charlotte; her siblings, Gerald, Judith and James; sons-in-law George and Chad; and countless friends and colleagues. Arlene will be dearly missed and remembered forever by all.

Arlene was so many things to so many people; she was a loving wife, teacher, mother, friend, mentor and pianist extraordinaire. Her energy, passion and generosity were limitless in each and every one of these endeavors. As everyone around her also knew, she was a prodigious cook and possessed remarkable talent in languages and writing. It was sometimes hard to believe Arlene was only one person. She truly lived her life for others, with boundless patience, selflessness and grace in every word and gesture.

Arlene received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance, with honors, from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Theodore Lettvin on a full scholarship. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Vienna, Austria, and a New Hampshire Individual Artist Fellowship from the N.H. State Council on the Arts, and was a New England States Touring Artist. In addition to performing nationally and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician, Arlene taught piano at Phillips Exeter Academy (1981–1995) and was a Murkland Lecturer in music at the University of New Hampshire, where she was a devoted faculty member for twenty years (1995–2014). Arlene was recognized both within the University and at the national level for her teaching: she was a recipient of the University’s College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award (2012) and received the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award (2015), which “publicly recognize[s] specific teachers by spotlighting their extraordinary impact on the lives of students.”

Initial memorial services will be private. A public memorial service will be held to celebrate Arlene’s life in the near future.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Arlene Kies Endowed Fund (checks should be made out to UNH Foundation), referencing Arlene Kies, to:

UNH Foundation, Inc., Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Rd, Durham, NH 03824.

Alternatively, you can make your gift online by visiting this website:

  • Under "Giving Opportunities", select "OR... Click to view additional giving opportunities or make multiple selections"
  • Scroll to the bottom and select "Other Fund".
  • Enter the dollar amount.
  • Enter fund description: ARLENE KIES ENDOWED FUND.
  • Scroll down and select the line "Is your gift in honor/in memory of someone special" and add Arlene Kies's name.

—The Kies family