In a recent Finger Lakes Radio interview with Geoffrey Herd, director of the Geneva Music Festival, Hobart alum Dr. George Abraham ’59 is credited with making Herd’s first Carnegie Hall appearance possible. Herd, a violinist, and Abraham are both Geneva natives. The interview is available on the station’s archives, listed as “Geoffrey Herd, Geneva Music Festival.”
During the interview, host Ted Baker asked Herd about his recent inaugural performance at Carnegie Hall. Herd explained how Abraham coordinated the program.
“He wanted to do something for me and a pianist he knew from Eastman, so he put on this collaborative recital,” said Herd.
Abraham is a dedicated philanthropist and supporter of the Colleges. A member of the board of directors of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, he also serves the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music.
In discussing the fourth season of the Geneva Music Festival, which started June 9, Herd said he founded the program out of appreciation for his hometown and Geneva’s love of music. The first year, noted Herd, he was able to pay for the plane tickets of his friends who joined him in performing. “Since then we’ve gained some sponsors and now it grows and grows each year.”
The first concert featured Vicennium Void, an ensemble of which Herd is a founding member. He explained, “Vicennium is Latin for ‘a period of 20 years'” and the group’s work focuses on music by living American composers of the last 20 years.
“We are passionate about the wide variety of music. There’s a preconception about contemporary music being inaccessible and that’s not the case,” said Herd, adding they find contemporary music to be a “relevant, powerful artistic form.”
In addition to the contemporary sounds of Vicennium Void, the festival features international performers and genres, which Herd also discussed with Baker.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges is once again hosting the Geneva Music Festival as its concert home for the 2014 season. A performances will be held on campus on June 20. The full schedule and more information are available on the festival’s website.
The photo above features Dr. George Abraham ’59.