Thursday, November 9, 2023

Musicians' Club of New York


In 1911 instrumentalists from the New  York Philharmonic, singers from the Metropolitan Opera, composers and church musicians organized and formed The Musicians’ Club of New York.  It is one of the oldest such clubs in the United States. 

"The organization was formed to establish a higher standard of ethics in the various branches of the music profession and to bring a better understanding and closer fellowship among musicians."

Two of the club’s presidents were Walter Damrosch, one of Gena Branscombe’s conducting teachers, and Olga Koussevitzky,

wife of conductor Serge Koussevitzky.  The Musicians’ Club of New York funds the annual Young Artist Awards, a competition for living composers and an International Recording Award.  Quite impressive!

On December 12, 1954 at the prestigious Musicians’ Club of New York, the Branscombe Choral led by Gena Branscombe performed Christmas music on an afternoon concert. 

They were joined on that program by pianist Samuel Sorin.   

The Choral’s next concerts were on December 15th at the National Opera Club and at the Broadway Tabernacle Church on December 19th

December 1954 marked the final month that the Branscombe Choral would perform after which they disbanded having left a deep impression on New York City’s music scene.  Twenty years had passed since the Choral had set up their charter, elected a Board of Directors and began rehearsals with their conductor, composer, arts administrator and marketing genius, Gena Branscombe. 

During those twenty years Miss Branscombe organized concert programs that impressed the New York critics, programs that featured American composers and most important programs that included the music of American women composers.  The 60-75 members of the Choral sang yearly concerts at Town Hall and the Broadway Tabernacle Church. 

The Branscombe Choral sang at the first United Nations in Lake Success, NY and on radio stations that broadcast across the United States and Canada.  Now their musical journey would come to end with one of their final concerts at the Musicians’ Club of New York!