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History of the Anchorage Festival of Music
The Anchorage Festival of Music was founded in 1956 though the collaboration of Mary Hale and the internationally renowned conductor, Robert Shaw, who served as Artistic Director and Conductor for the first twelve years of the company. Joining Maestro Shaw in the founding year were John Wustman, Julius Herford, Robert Gerle, and Blake Stern. The Festival was organized to "provide local musicians and audiences the enriching experience of great music; studied, rehearsed and performed with inspired, professional direction." In 1986, the Alaska Festival of Music consolidated with the Basically Bach Festival, founded in 1978 by Elvera Voth, and together they re-established the original name of Anchorage Festival of Music.
From the 1957 program... "The flashing aurora, the treasured wealth in the earth, the towering peaks-again all these have their musical counterparts in the inspiration and beauty which come to us with the artists we are now honored to receive. As they share with us their dedication to the universal speech of music, we who listen and who participate in the Anchorage Festival of Music again become one with all the world of music, which is bound together in tribute to the finest interpretations of the masters' works."
Throughout its history, the Anchorage Festival of Music stressed and was successful at providing opportunities for blending the finest local musicians with visiting national and international guest artists. Local and guest soloists were featured in chamber recitals, orchestral and choral/orchestral concerts. The tradition continues today.
The Anchorage Festival of Music is a non-profit community organization dedicated to presenting a summer festival of classical music and educational opportunities in music for the people of Alaska. In the past it has been supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the Municipality of Anchorage Arts Advisory Commission. Current support is provided by grants from the Atwood, Getty and Carr Foundations, by major contributions from corporations as well as generous contributions of time and financial support from many individuals and businesses.