|Photo: Zuckermann Harpsichords International
“It is now more important than ever to bring to life the music of past centuries, performed by adept and informed musicians in intimate, exclusive places,” says L. Frederick Jodry, V, president of Museum Concerts of Rhode Island, as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Co-founded by Mary Sadovnikoff, a fortepianist, and Alison Fowle, a gamba player, Museum Concerts initially presented performances at the Grand Gallery of the Museum of Rhode Island School of Design. “Mary was fascinated by early pianos and built several instruments. We’re trying to recapture that spirit of early music that she loved by presenting it on appropriate instruments,” Fred explains, adding that Museum Concerts is the only Rhode Island presenter of music from before 1900 with a regular concert series and the longest continuing Early Music series in the United States.
Museum Concerts’ 50th anniversary season features musicians from Rhode Island, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. The season began with a Gala Anniversary Concert last fall, given in memory of this endowment’s namesake, Estise Metcalf Mauran. A long-time supporter and volunteer at the RISD Museum, she also was, Fred shares, a music lover. She died in October, 2014.
The 2016-2017 season also features three chamber concerts at the organization’s now-usual performance site, First Unitarian Church, and concludes with the 50th Gala Season Finale. Average concert attendance, Fred says, is 100; he’s hoping for 500 at the Season Finale.
“As we celebrate 50 years of Museum Concerts, we feel it is time to ensure that our tradition and commitment to live performances of early music continue. The Mauran Fund will support and guarantee the work of Museum Concerts for the future,” Fred explains.
Describing the Rhode Island Foundation as “a good umbrella organization and a good steward of funds,” Fred notes, “We’re run entirely by volunteers and we just don’t have the staff to manage an endowment. The whole organization has a certain momentum and has operated financially successfully through ticket sales and donations for years.”
He’s optimistic that this momentum will carry Museum Concerts for at least another 50 years, enabling it to grow and continue to enhance the cultural life of Providence.