In 1894, a group of music lovers gathered in a stately home on Hillhouse Avenue and voted to guarantee the funding needed to form a symphony orchestra in their beloved city. Thus began New Haven’s reign as the cultural capital of Connecticut and the tradition of audiences helping to fund world-class music in their hometown. One initial “guarantor” was Henry Fowler English, grandfather of Richard English who continued the family’s 118 year-old tradition of supporting the NHSO. His annual gifts and endowed funds have provided crucial underwriting for the Symphony’s live performances and regional education programs.
Richard English was an arts patron, pianist, and philanthropist with a passion for music, birds, and the love of the New Haven community. Born in New Haven on March 5, 1935 he was the son of Philip and Katharine Dana English. He was descended from noted Yale scientist James Dwight Dana on his mother’s side and two Connecticut governors on his father’s side.
He was educated at The Foote School, Pomfret, Proctor Academy, Nichols College, Quinnipiac College, and the Neighborhood Music School. Mr. English was acknowledged as a fine musicologist and ornithologist. He was retired from The First New Haven National Bank and was a past President and longest-standing member of the New Haven Bird Club.
Classical music was part of his everyday life and this love blossomed into an impressive expertise that continued throughout his lifetime. This passion for music and affection for the New Haven community prompted Mr. English to leave a bequest establishing a fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, supporting the NHSO. His generous donation will influence the success of the NHSO in incredible ways for generations to come.
The NHSO family lost a longtime subscriber during the 2011-2012 season, but his passion for music lives on. Peter Hereld's estate gift funds, in perpetuity, free tickets, large type programs, and audio program notes available on the internet. What a joyful legacy: improving outreach services to the blind community members.
Myrna Baskin plans a donation to the NHSO in her will. "I've had a lifelong passion for the arts," says Myrna, who majored in music at Smith College. "There's so much talent and ability in New Haven, yet so many young people don't have an opportunity to take advantage of their gifts. It is a privilege to help provide Symphony education programs for their futures."
Chris Getman has worn many hats throughout his career: from English teacher and coach at The Hotchkiss School to Associate Director of the Yale Alumni Fund, and from First Vice President with Merrill Lynch to President of Soundview Capital Management.
Throughout each opportunity, Chris and his wife Toddie have maintained deep roots in New Haven. You will find them walking Yale mascot Handsome Dan at the big game, hosting a dinner for LEAP, or accepting the United Way of Greater New Haven’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award. Foremost in their hearts, however, is the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
Although Chris first connected with classical music while using a Haydn record as a Frisbee, a music appreciation class at Yale later opened his eyes to the splendors of the orchestra. Years later, Mozart and Wagner are personal favorites and his family strives to share their love of classical music with their children and grandchildren.
Chris and Toddie have established a fund for the NHSO, managed by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, to secure a community musical heritage in perpetuity.
Chris re-affirmed the value of planned giving: “we’re in a position where we can and want to give something back…you give back to whatever has made your life worthwhile. Having your money someplace where you know it will be working forever is a pretty gratifying experience.”
Create your legacy with a planned gift. Email Elaine C. Carroll to discuss tax-deductible opportunities or call 203.865.0831 x12.
The Legacy Society recognizes those who plan a gift to the NHSO.
Let us know if you qualify for membership and society events.