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Bequest from the Estate of Music Educator Jane H. Kesson Enables Philadelphia Orchestra’s HEAR Initiative to Thrive

October 12, 2018

Orchestra Names Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program in Her Honor

(Philadelphia, October 12, 2018)—The Philadelphia Orchestra has received a significant bequest from the estate of longtime patron and donor Jane H. Kesson (1926-2017), enabling the Orchestra to strengthen its commitment to students through its HEAR initiative, a portfolio of programs that promotes Health, champions music Education, eliminates barriers to Accessing the Orchestra, and maximizes impact through Research. The generous gift was largely unrestricted, with a portion designated for endowment. In honor of her role as a devoted music educator who brought hundreds of students to concerts over the years, the Orchestra has named its School Concert Program in Kesson’s memory. The Jane H. Kesson School Concert Program exposes students in grades 3-5 to orchestral music by familiarizing them with the environment and traditions of a concert hall, equipping them with fundamental musical vocabulary, and cultivating a lifelong interest in classical music.

A Philadelphia Orchestra patron since the age of 12, Kesson was a music educator for 45 years, beginning at the age of 13 when she started charging 50 cents per lesson, making rounds on her bicycle to 25 pupils in her hometown of Wyncote, PA. She went on to teach grades K-12 in public schools, primarily in the Abington School District. In this role, and even in retirement, she brought hundreds of students to Orchestra concerts each year. In a 2002 Playbill, Kesson was quoted as saying, “The Philadelphia Orchestra is the finest treasure we have. It’s world famous, it’s ours, and it’s right here. Putting the Orchestra in my will gives me confidence that the Orchestra will continue to educate and inspire our youth.” Kesson received a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Master of Arts in composition from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Jane Kesson was a passionate advocate for music education and an enthusiastic patron of the Orchestra,” said Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. “Her extraordinary gift ensures that the Orchestra will continue to engage children in a lifetime connection to music. We are delighted to name our School Concert Program in Jane’s honor, a fitting tribute to her tireless work as an educator and her role as an inspiration to so many young people. On behalf of the entire Philadelphia Orchestra Association, we are grateful for her generosity.”

“Jane‘s commitment to music, the children she taught to love music, and her beloved Philadelphia Orchestra made her life a wonderful experience,” said Cindi Pasceri, a former colleague and longtime friend of Jane and executrix of her estate. “There wasn’t a note played she didn’t enjoy hearing. She loved getting to know the members of the Orchestra personally. They became valued friends and part of her extended family. Today’s tribute and naming of the Student Concert Program in her honor would have made her so happy and grateful to know that students would continue to benefit from her gift. Of course, I wish she could be here in person rather than in spirit, but I know Jane is smiling at us.”

Kesson was an active volunteer on the Orchestra’s Education Committee as well as a member of the Maestro’s Circle and Wister Society. The Orchestra’s Wister Society is a recognition group for donors who have made legacy gifts in support of the Orchestra’s continued excellence. The Wister Society currently comprises more than 150 members who have chosen to remember the Orchestra in their estate plans or through other planned giving vehicles. The Kesson bequest was announced at the annual recognition event for Wister Society members on October 12, 2018.



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Alexa Vecchione