About Marissa Hendriks

Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Special Collections Processing Center, Kislak Center for Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania

Processing the Immaterial, Touching the Real: Ghosthunting in the Marlboro Music School and Festival Records

marlboro_founders

Marlboro’s founders: Marcel Moyse, Louis Moyse, Rudolf Serkin, Blanche Moyse, Adolf Busch, Herman Busch

The Marlboro School of Music has been a driving force in chamber music in America for over half a century. Every summer it draws applicants from across the globe, vying for an opportunity to spend the next seven weeks playing alongside some of the world’s most talented artists in its idyllic setting in southern Vermont. Marlboro’s influence has intertwined itself into the early music careers of such artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Joshua Bell, and pianist Emanuel Ax. Under the artistic direction of pianist Mitsuko Uchida, also a former participant, the school emphasizes the intensive study of chamber music by bringing together senior artists and talented young musicians to play simply for the joy of playing. This offers a respite to professionals, both young and senior, from strenuous rehearsal and performance schedules. The school was officially founded in 1951 by violinist Adolf Busch, along with his son-in-law, pianist Rudolf Serkin, cellist Herman Busch, flutist Marcel Moyse, pianist and flutist Louis Moyse, and violinist and conductor Blanche Honegger Moyse. Its earliest years are when this philosophy of bringing together junior and senior artists in a relaxed atmosphere initially took root.

Adolf Busch relocated his family to Vermont after immigrating from Europe at the outbreak of The Second World War and the Moyse Trio had also fled Europe and came to Vermont after living in exile in Argentina. In 1950 the founder of Marlboro College, Walter Hendricks, approached them about conducting a summer music program for the nascent college. That first year had few participants and little planning, with a number of unimpressed participants, mostly string players, leaving shortly after their arrival, but a seed was planted nonetheless. The following year, the Marlboro School of Music became its own separate institution from the college and held its first official summer school and festival with over fifty participants. Continue reading