This summer, cities all over the world will celebrate the music of one of the most influential and greatest composers of all time, Franz Joseph Haydn, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his passing. Geneva’s Haydn festival was made possible by Hobart alum George Abraham ’59 and Geneva Concerts.
Abraham, a generous supporter of the Colleges’ art collection and organizer of summer fundraising concerts for the past several years, along with Geneva Concerts will sponsor a three-day Haydn festival at HWS from Aug. 21 through 23.
On Aug. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. in the Geneva Room, concerts will benefit the Center for Concern and Catholic Charities. In addition, there will be a canned food collection of non-perishable food for each organization.
The festival will come to a close on Aug. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center; the concert will benefit the Geneva Scholarship Associates. The Geneva Scholarship Associates is a fund that supports academically and financially deserving students from Geneva or DeSales High Schools to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Performances will feature musicians from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and the Geneva community, including a string chamber ensemble conducted by Doug Lowry, dean and director of the Eastman School of Music. The ensemble will accompany Abraham, himself a musician who has taken piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music, and LiuLiu, a pianist and doctoral student from China. In addition, the Haydn Fest piano quartet comprised of Hilda Collins, Meg Heaton, applied instructor of piano, and two Eastman musicians will perform.
For Abraham it was natural to organize the festival. It was something nice to do. “I’m from Geneva, I want to make it easier for people from the City to get access to an education at Hobart and William Smith,” he says.
In addition to being beneficial to the food banks and scholarship fund, the Haydn Festival plays a part in a future in which Abraham envisions Geneva and HWS as a hub of cultural happenings in the Finger Lakes.
A native of Geneva, Abraham graduated from Hobart College in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in math and chemistry. While at Hobart, he was active with the Herald, Little Theatre, Schola Cantorum and Canterbury Club.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the door for $10. In addition, canned food donations will be collected for the Center for Concern and Catholic Charities.