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From the Jan. 23, 1953, Eagle

Eagle Archives, Jan. 23, 1953: Dr. Koussevitzky's widow keeps a famous tradition alive

There is in Berkshire County a woman who is fast becoming famous in the musical world, where her husband was one of the powers. She is Mrs. Serge Koussevitzky, widow of the late great conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and founder and director of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

The task that Mrs. Koussevitzky has set herself is to carry on the work of her husband of instigating, introducing and having played, music by contemporary composers, through the Koussevitzky Music Foundations.

Interviewed early this week at Seranak, her home in Lenox overlooking Stockbridge Bowl and Mount Everett, the Russian-born widow, who before their marriage in 1947 was her husband’s secretary, said that she has dedicated the year from the autumn of 1952 to that of 1953 to the promotion of the foundation’s work. It is the 10th anniversary of the fund that Dr. Koussevitzky established in memory of Natalie Koussevitzky, her aunt and his first wife.

That was the first foundation. The second is a fund that he set up in 1950 in Washington, D.C., under the name of The Serge Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress. All of the original scores and manuscripts of the commissioned works of both foundations form a permanent collection in the Congressional library.

Since early fall Mrs. Koussevitzky, who is president of the first foundation and advisory board chairman of the second, has frequently traveled long distances to hear performances of the music commissioned by them. She will go this week to Minneapolis to hear Antal Dorati conduct the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony, in which Leonard Bernstein led the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood last summer. She will be the guest of Mrs. Bruce Sanborn of St. Paul and Lenox.

Something else that pleases Mrs. Koussevitzky very much is the prospect of original opera at Tanglewood next summer. Charles Munch, who succeeded Dr. Koussevitzky as director of the Berkshire Music Center and the Boston Orchestra, has asked the foundation for stipends for young composers who will work on operas, under Boris Goldovsky, during the Tanglewood season. She is certain that the request will be granted.

Not only is Mrs. Koussevitzky passionately interested in Tanglewood, specially the music school, but she takes an active part in the life of the community. Since last summer she has made important gifts to the Lenox Library and has installed a new organ in the Church-on-the-Hill.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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