Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years

The Alice M. Ditson Fund > Alice M. Ditson

Alice M. Ditson

Photograph, no date

Alice M. Ditson Fund Papers, Music Library Deposit, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

In 1940, the will of Alice M. Ditson, widow of the music publisher Charles Ditson, made Columbia the beneficiary of a fund of $400,000. Income was to be spent by the Trustees with the advice of a Committee, but Mrs. Ditson stipulated that the monies were not to be used for ordinary educational purposes. In the more than half century since its establishment, the Ditson Fund has allowed Columbia to take a prominent leadership role in supporting American music. It has commissioned numerous works of all kinds: opera, orchestral, and chamber music. It has underwritten a number of important premieres. It has made awards to scholars, composers, and conductors. The fund has proved to be a prestigious and widely respected source of support for music performance, with American music and musicians its chief beneficiaries.

The Ditson Fund was a primary means of support for Opera Workshop productions. It also participated in underwriting concerts presented by the Performers’ Committee for Twentieth-Century Music and the Annual Festivals of Contemporary American Music.


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