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From the Archives: Coolidge Quartet performs at Yale in November, 1936

April 29, 2009

Coolidge QuartetElizabeth Sprague Coolidge, a vital and prominent patron of twentieth-century American music, extended her reach to New Haven. The daughter of Yale graduate Albert Arnold Sprague (Class of 1859), she and her mother donated the funds for Yale’s first building dedicated to music, Sprague Memorial Hall, which opened in 1917. A series of chamber music performances in Sprague Hall was also named in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague.

In November 1936, the Coolidge Quartet – named for its patron, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge – performed on the Albert Arnold Sprague Chamber Concerts series in Sprague Memorial Hall. Note the credit on the program that the concert was “presented through the courtesy of the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Library of Congress. Active during the 1930s and ’40s, the Coolidge Quartet boasted first-rate musicians even through several changes in roster.

Violinist William Kroll went on to form the Kroll Quartet in 1944. Violinist, composer, and conductor Nikolai Berezowsky played with organizations such as the Bolshoi and the New York Philharmonic; his compositions included several symphonies that Koussevitzky promoted and a popular opera, Babar the Elephant. Violist Nicholas Moldavan played with Benny Goodman and was a member of the Flonzaley and Stradivarius Quartets. Cellist Victor Gottlieb later became first cellist of the RKO Studio Orchestra in Hollywood.

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