JUNE 30, 1955
HYDE PARK—From many parts of our country people have journeyed year after year to Tanglewood in Berkshire County, Mass., to enjoy the music. And these visitors have been interested in the various teaching activities that go on there during the summer and which the late, great conductor, Mr. Koussevitsky, took such a keen interest in developing.
After his death some of the people in the county formed a committee to raise $15,000 in his memory to provide a yearly scholarship for one student. So far only $7,000 of that sum has been raised. And since the opening at Tanglewood takes place this year on July 4, and Mr. Koussevitsky's birthday comes later in the month, I have been wondering if the many who enjoy year after year the fruits of his labors would not like to make sure that between the date of the opening and the time of his birthday the rest of this fund was contributed. This achievement then could be announced at the memorial concert that is usually given on his birthday.
Mr. Koussevitsky would have liked to feel that one young person could come and have the opportunity to study there every summer. I think he understood very well that everyone was not gifted with genius, but in order to have genius discovered and rewarded there must be a vast number of people musically educated. Perhaps they would never be great artists but they would contribute to the musical appreciation of our audiences, and that is the only possible way that you can support great artists.
The countries that have had the greatest musicians, the greatest actors, the greatest writers are the countries that have appreciation of the arts among the people as a whole. It is a sign that a nation is growing up, is coming to maturity when it is really concerned to support the arts.
In the Middle Ages every artist had to have one individual patron who was willing to support him and let him do his work. That was a sign that civilization was still in a more or less primitive state. But the greatness of France, for instance, has been the fact that appreciation of art was present in the people as a whole. You have but to go into an art gallery in France to see that the public is there—even the people from the farm areas.
I remember seeing a woman with a market basket on her arm sitting before one of the masterpieces in the Louvre. It was her way of giving her soul a chance for a moment of peace and contemplation before the work of the day went on.
One of the things that troubles me about the future of the living drama in our country is the fact that it is so expensive that the vast majority of the people can see a play only on very rare occasions. Many people throughout our nation who live in rural areas have never seen live actors perform on the stage.
For a really healthy development of all the arts you need an educated audience as well as performers.
(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 30, 1955
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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