Hilde Limondjian

Director of Concerts & Lectures, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Presented Musicians from Marlboro for over 40 Years; Intern at Marlboro, Summer 1964

In the Spring of 1964, as he was leaving the Metropolitan Museum’s Concert office after a meeting

with Dr. William Kolodney, Frank Salomon stopped by my desk and asked if I would like to intern

at the Marlboro Music Festival during the coming summer season. At the time I was senior

assistant to Dr. Kolodney, the legendary creator of so many landmark cultural events in New York,

among them dance recitals by Isadora Duncan, monologues by Ruth Draper, unprecedented

cycles of Beethoven String Quartets, and the N.Y. premiere performance of Dylan Thomas’ Under

Milkwood. I was busy absorbing the tradition he had forged and learning from him how to be an

arts administrator, something Barnard College had not taught me. I asked Dr. K, he supported the

idea, and I said “yes” to Frank.

That summer also saw the formation of the Guarneri Quartet at Marlboro. My first inkling of it was when Janet

Soyer showed me an embossed leather antique photograph album. Under one of the photographs

– that of a pater familias – she had calligraphed, “Father of the Guarneri Quartet” and across from

it under the photograph of his wife, “Mother of the Guarneri Quartet.” I included this news in my

letter to Dr. Kolodney. His reply came back almost by return mail. Try to engage them! The

Guarneri gave annual series at the Met Museum until 2009.

One sunny day, I accepted Isidore Cohen’s invitation to play doubles tennis, though I was barely

good enough to volley tennis balls against the wall, and had never played a game in my life. Izzy

and I lost valiantly, but the Met Museum gained the Beaux Arts Trio in their only NY concerts.

A few years later, after the Met’s Director, Thomas Hoving, had entrusted me with the Concerts &

Lectures program, Frank and I established the Music from Marlboro series together. It provided

the New York audience an opportunity to hear masterpieces of the chamber music literature as

well as some seldom-heard works, and featured many great musicians in their youthful years.

My internship at Marlboro in the summer of 1964 deeply influenced the series I was to program at

the Metropolitan Museum. The Guarneri, Marlboro, and the Beaux Arts series were direct results,

while many more events took place because of Marlboro. As an example, in a three-concert

series, the St. Luke’s Orchestra was conducted by Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, and James

Levine, and the piano soloists were Rudolf Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and Peter Serkin, all

Marlboro luminaries.

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