Just a few months after retiring, Bruce Kovner has made his
way back into the spotlight with a $20 million donation to the
Juilliard School, the famed New York City musical academy.
Kovner, an accomplished pianist who once attended the school
and now serves as chairman of the board, shelled out the cash
to fully endow Juilliard’s graduate-level program
in historical performance. "The program provides specialized
study in informed performance practice of music composed from
1600 to roughly the early 19th century, with full scholarships
to all Historical Performance students," according to a
Juilliard press release.
The New York Times first reported the
donation. As the newspaper put it, "the sheer size of the gift
is enough to make heads snap in the early music world, whose
practitioners typically struggle to stay a step ahead of
"This extraordinary gift exemplifies the vision and
generosity of spirit that has been the foundation upon which
Bruce Kovner has embraced his leadership of The Juilliard
School," said the school’s president, Joseph W.
Polisi, in the release. "With a strong financial base, our
Historical Performance program can now look toward the future
with confidence that we can create an educational experience of
excellence that addresses the best practices of this important
field in today's musical environment."
The 66-year-old Kovner has made annual donation of between
$500,000 and $1 million to the historical performance program
since 2009. Six years ago he
donated a collection of rare manuscripts to Juilliard,
including first editions and autographed scores from Beethoven,
Bach, Brahams, Chopin and Mozart, among many others.
Kovner also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Opera.
In his farewell letter to investors, he noted that, in
retirement, "I look forward to spending more time on the simple
pleasures of life with family and friends. I may even be able
to have a little more time at the piano!"
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