People in the News

Caxton founder Bruce Kovner donates $20 million to Juilliard

January 17, 2012   Rob Copeland

The money will go to support a program focused on the performance of music composed in the period of the 17th to 19th centuries.

  Bruce Kovner, as pictured in AR's Hedge Fund Hall of Fame.

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 poverty."

"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!"

See also:
Kovner, Druckenmiller spread holiday cheer
Kovner project raises $459 million
Caxton, Carlson and others hit the fundraising trail

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