Profiles in Philanthropy: Chamber Music Returns to the Mainstay


There were quite a few things that Ben and Judy Kohl wanted to accomplish when they started the Hedgelawn Foundation several years ago. For Judy, it was her desired to support local theater, which has led to a long affiliation with the Garfield Center for the Arts,  but for her husband, Ben, it was to fund a classical music program for Sundays at the Mainstay.

His motivation was simple enough. When Ben Kohl was a long-tenured professor at Vassar College, he had been particularly impressed with the Sunday concerts that the music department hosted to celebrate classical chamber music. He also felt that Rock Hall (and the Mid-Shore) would benefit from the same tradition, and worked with his close friend, Tom McHugh, the then director of the Mainstay, to make that happen.

And now, With the recent addition of John Thomas as the Mainstay’s programming manager, that series has returned to Rock Hall with a new and exciting perspective of what 21st-century chamber music can be like. With John’s long teaching career at the Peabody Conservatory, and now, Washington College, he is in a unique position to offer a level of programming with some of the brightest and most promising young musicians working today.

The Spy, as part of our continuing series of profiling the philanthropy of the Hedgelawn Foundation, spent a few minutes with John to talk about this new era in chamber music as well as Judy about the philanthropic intent with the concert for the community.

This video is approximately minutes in four minutes in length. For more information about the Hedgelawn Classical  Series at the Mainstay, please go here.

About Dave Wheelan

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