History: Celebrating beyond our Silver Anniversary
On March 16, 2005, the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans was happy to celebrate its 25th birthday. Now in our 33rd year, MASNO continues presenting classical music in New Orleans. We marked our silver anniversary and look forward to a bright future as we continue to add concerts and educational programs to our schedule and continue our fine tradition of performances that include the New Orleans International Piano Competition, Concerto Showcase, Nocturne, the New Orleans Piano Institute, and the annual Keyboard Festival.
|This 25th anniiversary silver medal is the image of the original New Orleans International Piano Competition medal, designed by New Orleans artist India Stewart. Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded for the first time in 2004.
Originally founded in 1980 as the New Orleans Institute for the Performing Arts by Melvin G. Alford and Julianne Nice, the initial aim of the organization was to provide students and teachers in the performing arts with masterclasses and workshops, as well as expose them to performances by artists in the mainstream of professional activity.
Since our beginning, MASNO has provided both artists and students an opportunity to perform for appreciative audiences, assisting students in developing skills necessary to build artistic discipline, all while in a comfortable and supportive environment. MASNO has continued to encourage the performance of emerging and lesser known works, as well engaging the community to participate in all areas of the arts, particularly classical music.
Each summer, MASNO has presented the New Orleans Keyboard Festival, an eight day event featuring masterclasses, lectures, and recitals. In 1989, MASNO members Madelyn Trible and Raymond Gitz saw the opportunity to augment the summer festival, and in 1989 the New Orleans International Piano Competition was born. William Koehler was the victor of the inaugural competition, and since that first year the competition has continued to expand in scope, attracting competitors and audiences from around the globe, and currently regarded as one of the finest showcases of pianistic talent.
In the fall of 1994 Melvin Alford, who had served as Executive Director of the New Orleans Institute for the Performing Arts since its inception, passed on the leadership of the organization to Daniel Weilbaecher, who currently serves as Executive & Artistic Director. In 1996, the name of the organization was changed to the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans - MASNO.
In 1999, the organization took another step in its educational pursuits and created the New Orleans Piano Institute. The Piano Institute attracts talented college and high school students for an intensive week of study and performance, and the faculty regularly combines the best local instructors with teachers from some of the finest educational institutions around the world. Shearon Horton and Joan Jensen serve as directors of the New Orleans Piano Institute.
The Concerto Showcase began as a corollary to the New Orleans International Piano Competition in 2004. During the summer, only solo piano repertoire is performed as part of the competition requirements. The Concerto Showcase was added to give the three finalists from the previous year's competition the opportunity to perform with full orchestra. The first two Concerto Showcases, featuring the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra led by Klauspeter Seibel, have been a great success, enjoyed by the performers and the audiences.
MASNO continues to be a vital component of the local music community, striving not only to present the highest quality of performances, but to encourage the growth of supportive audiences for all classical music events throughout the city.