NEW ORLEANS FRIENDS OF MUSIC
2012-2013 season, its 58th, the New Orleans Friends of Music continues the tradition of bringing internationally acclaimed musicians to the community. A stellar series of artists will perform at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall, some new to our audiences and others returning by popular demand. We are excited to be able to offer seven outstanding chamber concerts of considerable variety, including quartets, trios, duos, and
the Venice Baroque Orchestra.
New Orleans Friends of Music is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the performance and appreciation of fine chamber music. It owes its success to loyal subscribers, the dedication of board members, contributions of friends, grant support from the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and a 58-year association with Tulane University. Subscription prices average
just $17.50 per concert, $125 for the 7-concert series.
Friends of Music has a responsibility to the community to bring music to the youth of the city and to cultivate the appreciation of classical music. This season we will continue an outreach program in which some of the performing ensembles give master classes or lecture demonstrations at local schools and universities. A
family concert is also scheduled.
For the benefit of our audiences, before each concert Dr. John Joyce of the Newcomb Department of Music faculty will give a free lecture about the music at 7 p.m.
Officers, Committee Chairs, Board Members
Margaret Shields, President, Education Outreach
Courtney Wilson, Secretary,
Education Outreach Co-Chair
Jo-Ann Adams, Treasurer, Finance
John S. Batson,
Finance Co-Chair, Development Co-Chair
Development Co-Chair (Major Gifts)
M. Lehmann, Endowment Chair, Long-Range Planning Chair
O. Harvey Green, Program Chair
Ken Kussman, Program
Barbara Knill, Hospitality Co-Chair
Martha Beveridge, Printed Program Coordinator
Printed Program Co-Coordinator
John Joyce, Music Counselor
Frederick G. Kushner,
Lorraine Thien, Subscription Manager
Baron, Venue Coordinator
Mize, Immediate Past-President, Web Coordinator
Associate Board Members
Emeritus Board Members
World-Class Music . . . for a Song
A cultured city without chamber music? Unthinkable, said Dr. Ernest Bueding when he arrived in New Orleans in 1954.
He had begun a chamber society in Cleveland, his previous home, and exacted a promise from his friend and colleague, Dr. Joe Meyer, that if he accepted a job at Louisiana State University Medical School as head of the Pharmacology Department, Meyer would help him start a similar series.
“Ernest was the brains behind the whole thing, and I was a front man,” said Meyer who became the first president in 1955. “He was also an excellent musician and knew practically all the chamber music in existence.”
They brought together a group of friends and colleagues who gathered their friends and spouses who loved fine music.
“This was a time of energy, vision and enthusiasm,” said Dr. Emmanuel Farber, a founder and early president. “We believed we were making an enduring contribution to the community, and we were determined to accept only the finest performances.”
Attorney René Lehmann drew up the legal papers and then housed the Friends office for 20 years. The late Ruth Farber was treasurer and carefully monitored the money to insure high-quality performers within budget. Irving
Paley, a founding board member who now resides in Chicago, directed public relations, and Dr. Morris
Weisler, a New Orleans internist, headed subscriptions. Dr. Peter Hansen, chair of Newcomb College’s Department of Music, began the group’s 45-year association with Tulane University.
Then with a grant from
the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the U.S.
Library of Congress, the city’s first chamber-music series
Fittingly, the series was
born on the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, January
27, 1956. The first concert was pure Mozart, of course,
performed by the Budapest String Quartet.
“People everywhere were
marking Mozart’s birth, but New Orleans may have had the
world’s best concert that night – the ultimate in
expressing appreciation for Mozart’s music,” Meyer said.
“The Budapest was in its prime, and they were playing all
Newspaper columnist Ewing
Poteet wrote that the Friends had obtained “the most
widely publicized and most successful quartet now before
the public for their opening attraction.” He also said
that this concert was the first time in more than a decade
that “any quartet playing other than by local ensembles”
had taken place in New Orleans.
“This was our most
memorable concert, because it was the first,” Weisler
said. “The hall was filled.”
That year, the series
price was $5 for three concerts. Today, it’s $72 for six
concerts with an occasional bonus event, costing not much
more than a movie ticket. YoYo Ma, Jean Pierre Rampal and
Julian Bream are among the artists who have played in
Dixon Hall for more than two generations in this series,
produced entirely by volunteers. Only a handful of groups
present a chamber-music series without a single employee.
From selecting the artists to taking tickets, most every
task is handled by a member of this board of directors.
"A love of music has
driven us,” said Hansen, who has been active for more than
45 years. Today, he continues to write program notes, give
occasional pre-concert lectures and serves as music
counselor. In 2000, he won the Classical Arts Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Big Easy Entertainment Awards.
His late wife, Doris, was an excellent violinist, music
teacher and a faithful Friends volunteer and subscriber.
In 49 years, only 17
people have served as president, and several have served
multiple terms, including John Batson, Larry Lehmann, Dr.
Stuart D. Farber, Dr. Morris Shaffer, Milton G.
Scheuermann and Dr. Fred Kushner. Board membership, too,
can last for decades.
“This continuity may be
one reason for our success,” Batson said.
Liliana Schor has headed
hospitality for more than 20 years, making sure that guest
artists are delivered, entertained and fed. Anne Bradburn
resigned just last year from her position as treasurer,
which she had held for 12 years.
Now a Friends’ adviser,
Charles Foster served as president and played an important
role in managing the group’s mailing list and print
advertising and developing strategies for building an
audience. Meanwhile, his late wife, Buford, came to
virtually every concert.
In fact, Friends has long
been a family affair. René Lehmann was the group’s fourth
president, and his son, Larry, has been a board member for
many years and served as president for four years.
Tedda Cohen has been
involved practically since the group’s inception. She
followed to the board her former husband, the late Dr.
Will Sternberg, who selected the musicians for many years
as program chair. Sternberg was a professor in Tulane
University’s Department of Pathology.
Sharing her husband’s
love of music, Margie Scheuermann has been a board member
for nearly 35 years and handled subscriptions for two
The audience is also
loyal. Dr. Margaret Shaffer has attended regularly since
her husband, the late Dr. Morris Shaffer, served the first
of his three terms as president in 1959. Yvonne Schultz,
too, has also been a long-time subscriber. Her husband,
the late Donald Schultz, was an active board member who
handled the Friends’ public relations and advertising.
Two Friends founders went
on to launch other chamber societies. After moving to
Johns Hopkins University in 1960, Bueding inaugurated the
Shriver Hall Concert Series, while Meyer founded the
Houston Friends of Music in 1959. Meyer now resides in
Silver Spring, Md. Having had a cultural influence in
three cities, Bueding died in 1986 at the age of 75.
Through the years, the
New Orleans group has dealt with both temperamental and
generous musicians, missing instruments, emergency rooms,
the Cold War and, yes, dogs.
"The appearances of the
Borodin Quartet brought two of our most memorable
moments," Cohen recalled. "In the middle of its
1971concert, a small dog wandered on stage. At this time
on campus, dogs were almost as numerous as students and it
was a warm night, so the doors were open. This severe
Russian group totally ignored the dog until someone came
to remove it.”
In 1973, the quartet
returned. And, in the middle of their performance, a small
dog walked on stage. And, once again, the group ignored
it. However, the headline in the Times-Picayune read the
next day: "Borodin Quartet and Dog Return."
Dogs may come and go, but
one thing is constant: Chamber music thrives in New
“I sell tickets at every
performance and see students and young people coming to
our concerts,” said Lizbeth Turner. “I have a sense that
there will always be an audience for fine classical music.
Our future is bright.”
For generations to come,
New Orleans Friends of Music will continue to bring the
world’s finest chamber music to the Crescent City for the
price of a song.
contact New Orleans Friends of Music, please see the
New Orleans Friends of Music
5500 Prytania St., PMB#402
New Orleans, LA 70115