- Aaron Richmond
name = Aaron Richmond
birth_date = October 28, 1895
birth_place = Salem, Massachusetts
death_date = April 21, 1965
death_place = Boston, Massachusetts
nationality = American
occupation = Performing arts manager, pianist, impresario and educator
Aaron Richmond (b.
October 28, 1895, Salem, Massachusetts- d. April 21, 1965, Boston, Massachusetts) was an American performing arts manager, pianist, impresario, and educator, based in Boston, Massachusetts, who managed the careers of numerous classical musicians and founded Celebrity Series of Boston, a performing arts presenting organization that still operates today.
Aaron Richmond was born in 1895 in
Salem, Massachusettswhere he had his formal education. After graduating from high school, he intensified his musical training with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. The following was noted in a brief Boston Globe review of a 1919 performance in which Richmond accompanied baritone Giovanni Petrucci at Boston's Steinert Hall, "Mr. Petrucci was assisted by Aaron Richmond, who played his accompaniments and a group of piano pieces." [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Giovanni Petrucci, Baritone, in Recital | date=April 23, 1919 | publisher= | url =http://proquest.umi.com | work =The Boston Globe | pages =35 | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | language = ]
In 1917, Richmond toured extensively as a pianist with the Tchaikovsky Quartet. During the same period, Richmond’s friend, conductor
Arthur Fiedler, was forced to cancel a series of bookings on the Chautauquacircuit. Mr. Richmond filled in as pianist on the tour and later organized "Richmond’s Little Symphony", a sextet that toured the circuit for several summers playing arrangements of orchestral works. He served as pianist and lecturer on the program and often the newspaper critic of the concerts. "Richmond’s Little Symphony" made at least one Chautuaqua circuit tour with William Jennings Bryan.
An onstage lapse of memory during Richmond's
Bostondebut caused him to reevaluate his professional goals and led him to a career in music management. His first office contained a studio where he continued to teach piano while he formed the core of his artists’ list from members of the Boston Symphony Orchestraand some prominent Boston vocalists.
Aaron Richmond Concert Management’s roster for the 1920-21 season included pianist
Felix Fox, cellist Jean Bedetti, soprano Laura Littlefield, flutist Georges Laurent, the American String Quartette, the Smalley Trio, the operatic duo of Mr. and Mrs. George Mager and the Boston Symphony Ensemble, under the direction of Augusto Vannini.
In the ensuing decades, Richmond also represented soprano Claudine Leeve, violinist Carmela Ippolito, pianists
Harrison Potterand Leo Podolsky, the Durrell String Quartet, tenor Joseph Lautner, the Fiedler Trio (Arthur Fiedler, violin; Alfred Hoy, harp, and Jacobus Lengendoen, cello), the Boston Sinfonietta, conducted by Arthur Fiedler, and piano and vocal folk-song duo Constance and Henry Gideon.
First Concert Series
In the early 1920s, Richmond was appointed the
New EnglandManager of the Wolfsohn Musical Bureau, Inc. and, during the 1924-25 season, presented his first concert series in Boston. The new venture, called the Wolfsohn Series, included sopranos Katherine Palmer, Kathleen McAlister, Suzanne Dabney, Mildred Cobb and Laura Littlefield; contraltos Abbie Conley Rice, Betty Gray and Rose Zulalian; mezzo-soprano Elena Gerhardt; baritones, Parish Williams, William Richardson, Wellington Smith, and Ernest Lamoureaux; pianists Moriz Rosenthal, Cyrus Ullian, Hyman Rovinsky, Alexander Brailowsky, George Smith, Harold Morris, Harrison Potter, Grace Cronin, Guiomar Novaes, Alfredo Oswald, and Alberto Sciarretti; the Kibalchich Russian Symphonic Choir and The Roman Choir; the Fox-Burgin-Bedetti Trio; cellist Felix Salmondand violinists Joseph Coleman, Harry Farbman, and Paul Cherkassky.
Over the next several years, Richmond also presented such noted artists as pianist and composer
Sergei Rachmaninoff, singer and composer J. Rosamond Johnson, pianist Harold Samuel, contralto Margarete Matzenauer, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Harrison Keller, Denoe Leedy, violinist Albert Spalding, the People's Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra.
The Celebrity Series Launched
Aaron Richmond’s Celebrity Series was launched 12 years later for the 1938-39 concert season. In 1954, still under Aaron Richmond’s direction, the Celebrity Series affiliated with
Boston Universityand took the name, the Boston University Celebrity Series.
In 1984, the Celebrity Series changed affiliations and moved its operations under the auspices of the
Wang Center for the Performing Arts. Then, in 1989, the Celebrity Series incorporated as Bank of Boston Celebrity Series, an independent, non-profit institution with its own Board of Directors and an annual budget of over $3 million. Today the Celebrity Series annual operating budget is approximately $7 million. After 18 years of operating with the title sponsorship support of Bank of Boston, BankBoston, FleetBoston Financial, and Bank of America, the Celebrity Series began operating under its incorporated name, Celebrity Series of Boston, in June 2007.
Aaron Richmond presented many performers during his 27-year tenure as director of the
Celebrity Series of Boston:
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan
Ignace Jan Paderewski
Juilliard String Quartet
NBC Symphony Orchestra
New York Philharmonic
* Trapp Family Singers
Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
* Destine Haitian Dance Company
Geoffrey HolderDance Company
* Jooss European Ballet
Jose Greco& his Spanish Dancers
* Kirov Ballet
Martha Grahamand Company
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
* Original Ballet Russe, Col. De Basil, Director General
Pearl PrimusDance Company
* Sadlers Wells Ballet/Royal Ballet
Trudi Schoopand Her Dancing Comedians
Uday Shankarand his Hindu Ballet
Bristol Old Vic
Cornelia Otis Skinner
Emlyn Williamsas Charles Dickens
Hal Holbrookin "Mark Twain Tonight!"
Sir Thomas Beecham
Following Richmond’s death on
April 21 1965[cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Aaron Richmond, Pianist, Became Concert Manager | date=April 23, 1965 | publisher= | url =http://proquest.umi.com | work =The New York Times | pages =35 | accessdate = 2008-01-03 | language = ] , his associate Walter Pierce assumed direction of the Celebrity Series. In 1986, Mr. Pierce hired Martha H. Jones as the Celebrity Series' Director of Marketing. She later became General Manager, and, in 1996, when Mr. Pierce retired his full-time post, Martha Jones was appointed Executive Director.
Richmond served as artistic advisor to numerous colleges and committees throughout the New England area, including the Boston Morning Musical Association (
Boston, Massachusetts), the [http://www.hmaboston.org Harvard Musical Association] ( Boston, Massachusetts), Weston Country Evening Concert Series, South End Music Centre ( Boston, Massachusetts), Boston Community Music Centre ( Boston, Massachusetts), the James Spooner Fund Concerts ( Plymouth, Massachusetts), Gile Fund Concerts ( Concord, New Hampshire), the Greater New Bedford Concert Series New Bedford, Massachusetts), Temple Beth El Concert Series ( Providence, Rhode Island), the South Shore Concert Association ( Massachusetts), as well as Smith and Williams Colleges, the Massachusetts Institute of Technologyand the Connecticut College for Women.
Aaron Richmond was a founding member of the Concerts Association of America, founded in 1937 "to meet the pressing problems now confronting the concert-giving field." [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Concert Managers Form New Society | date=January 5, 1937 | publisher= | url =http://proquest.umi.com | work =The New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | language = ] In 1951, Richmond was elected Vice President of the National Association of Concert Managers, [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Concert Managers Elect | date=December 14, 1951 | publisher= | url =http://proquest.umi.com | work =The New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | language = ] which later became the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) [http://www.ispa.org/] .
Richmond took over direction of the Castle Hill Festival in
Ipswich, Massachusettsin 1964 where he organized the New England debut of violinist Itzhak Perlmanand a concert by an eighteen-year old Peter Serkin.
Richmond also taught piano throughout his career, and for years kept a room adjacent to his business office in which he taught piano.
The French government made Aaron Richmond a Chevalier of The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1961 [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Aaron Richmond, Pianist, Became Concert Manager | date=April 23, 1965 | publisher= | url =http://proquest.umi.com | work =The New York Times | pages =35 | accessdate = 2008-01-03 | language = ] , and the West German government gave him the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1962 for his role in the cultural exchange program.
* [http://www.celebrityseries.org Celebrity Series of Boston web site]
* [http://cseries.typepad.com/celebrityseries/ Celebrity Series of Boston Blog]
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