Friday, July 15, 2016

A bequest for musicians

The late Marjorie S. Fisher, who with her husband, Max, and other relatives gave the Detroit Symphony Orchestra more than $25 million over the years – the city’s symphony hall is named for them – added another $390,000 in her will: $5,000 for each of the 78 members of the orchestra.

The orchestra’s president, Anne Parsons, “said she has never heard of a donor bequest quite like Fisher’s,” Mark Stryker reports in the Detroit Free Press:

Actually, there is a precedent – sort of. In 2001, an anonymous donor gave the Richmond Symphony about $1.5 million to finance retirement buyouts for senior musicians. Twenty-four symphony players – one-third of the orchestra’s roster, including the concertmaster and several other principals – accepted the offer.

One of the successors to those departed Richmond principals, clarinetist Ralph Skiano, who left Richmond in 2014 to become the Detroit Symphony’s principal clarinetist, is one of the beneficiaries of Fisher’s parting gift.