2017 takes off with spectacular music-making at Da Camera.
This new year is particularly special for us, as we inaugurate an unprecedented annual event with the first James K. Schooler Memorial Concert on February 16. This is our way of honoring the memory of a devoted friend and subscriber who left us with an astonishing bequest. Because the story is extraordinary, I’d like to share it with you.
A few years ago I was notified that Da Camera would be named in the will of an anonymous donor, and that the gift would be significant. But our benefactor preferred to keep his identity secret even from us. He didn’t want attention drawn to himself, only wanted to express, with this magnificent act, how much Da Camera concerts had enriched his life.
He was not a member of our board, was not actively involved in our organizational work: he was a subscriber. This was the only information we were given. And the excitement of learning that this bequest awaited us was irreparably tied up with the sadness that I would never be able to thank him directly; that the identity of our benefactor would only be revealed to us when he was no longer alive. I expressed our gratitude as much as possible to his representative, and we were granted permission to reveal his identity and thank him publicly once the bequest became ours.
James Schooler left us over $1.64 million, with the wish that his gift be transformative. That it has already been. Securing our future by significantly growing our endowment, as well as creating a reserve fund for board designated projects of institutional and artistic significance, this tremendous gift gives us permission to both dream and to plan. We are proud to memorialize Mr. Schooler with the annual James K. Schooler Memorial Concert, and thrilled to launch this series of concerts with the superb artistry of violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt in their first Houston duo recital. Individually two of the outstanding soloists of their generation, these dedicated artists take time out of their solo schedules to make chamber music at the highest level possible.
Music is a remarkable form of human expression. From the stage, we performers feel the intensity of listening and responsiveness that the audience projects back to us. Listening to music is active, requires engagement, and is deeply fulfilling; at Da Camera, we strive to create concerts that impact people’s lives deeply. We believe especially in the transformative communicative powers of live performance, in the authenticity of the exchange between the performer on stage and you, the listener.
As we begin the new year with legendary Latin Jazz master Arturo Sandoval, the brilliant Elias String Quartet from England, Horszowski Trio’s Houston debut at the Menil and saxophonist Joshua Redman’s homage to his father — in addition to the Tetzlaff/Vogt duo — with each concert we renew this commitment to excellence. Mr. Schooler, a modest and reserved individual, left us not only with a transformative financial gift, but with an invaluable testament to the power of music. Our gratitude will be long lasting.
Artistic and General Director