Ford Foundation Announces $325,000 Grant To Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society

Kingston Daily Freeman · 3 minute read

Mrs. Gertrude Miller, president; Claude Monteux. conductor; and Dr. Raymond G. Kenyon, Development Director have jointly announced that the Ford Foundation has notified the Society that they are to receive $250,000 in endowment monies to be matched over the next five years, along with $75,000 (free) for expendable funds.

Some 50 major and metropolitan symphony orchestras were considered in the course of implementing the Ford Foundation's Program for American symphony orchestras. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc., was fortunate to have been selected by the Foundation for such a grant.

The, President of the Foundation, in announcing the grants, stated: "American orchestras are unparalleled In number and quality, but many troublesome conditions limit the range of their services and raise uncertainties about the future supply of talented players."

The objectives of the Ford Foundation in funding symphony programs such as the Hudson Valley Philharmonic are: to advance quality by enabling more musicians to devote their major energies to orchestral performance; to strengthen symphony organization and enlarge the audience for orchestral music by permitting the orchestras to increase their seasons. This may include more tours and more school, neighborhood, and suburban concerts; and to attract more talented young people to professional careers by raising income and prestige of orchestra members.

It may be remembered by many in the Hudson Valley Region that the current Philharmonic was founded in 1933 and originally called The Dutchess County Philharmonic Society. At that time, with a limited budget of only a few thousand dollars raised by dedicated people interested in symphonic music, concerts were begun on a regular basis.

In 1960, the Society was reorganized and became the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. At that time, a board of directors was most fortunate to secure as their musical director a talented and nationally-recognized conductor, Claude Monteux. During the following year, in 1961 the Society expanded with the unification of Dutchess County Council, the Orange County Council, and the Ulster County Council. From that time to the current year, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic subscription concert series structure of 14 concerts performed in Society has increased to a special Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Kingston, Chatham and Montgomery, plus 3 chamber music series, numerous Little symphony concerts and innumerable school concerts.

In announcing the Ford Foundation's Program for American Symphony Orchestras, Edward F. D'Arms, associate director of the Foundation's Program in the Humanities and Arts stated: "Many orchestras are striving to lengthen their seasons, even in the face of rising costs. Large as it is, this action by the Foundation will not in itself enable them to do so. But we hope that it will call widespread attention to the vast needs of a group of institutions at the very center of the nation's cultural life, thereby attracting the additional support they need."

The Ford Foundation, in affirming financial support to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. stated that the monies will be received in two categories of funds: endowment and free funds. The endowment portion of the funds is $250,000 and larger than the free funds of $75,000 and will be contingent upon matching within a specified period of time. The initial free funds are intended to relieve the orchestra from the necessity of increasing its regular annual fund-raising drives in a period during which they are conducting capital drives to raise matching funds.

Sigmund Koch, Director of Humanities and the Arts Program for the Ford Foundation commenting on the general significance of the funding of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc., said: "The import of what we have learned about the situation of symphony players and orchestras is all the more disquieting when one considers that the symphony is the oldest and the beet supportive of our noncommercial institutions in the performing arts. The very discrepancy between the size of the present program and the enormity of the need dramatizes the plight of the artist in our society. Philanthropy on this scale is feasible. Only when an artistic institution has achieved sufficient maturity to insure the value of the defects one can hope that the massive requirements of other artistic institutions will be better appreciated by people everywhere as a result of the present action."

The present Ford Foundation action on behalf of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc., can be attributed to Claude Monteux, Conductor; Mrs. Sidney N. Miller. President; and the former manager Mrs. Helen Kronenfeld, who instituted the original proposal to the Ford Foundation early in January of 1966.

In this proposal, the history of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. was reviewed along with its detailed budget over the many years of its operation, along with the many and varied services offered by the Philharmonic to the peoples of the Mid-Hudson Region. It is a tribute to these dedicated people that the Ford Foundation announced the grant of $325,000 to the Society itself.