Conducting fellowship receives $250K endowment from Logan Foundation

Ryo Hasegawa, the 2023 David Effron Conducting Fellow, takes a bow with the Music School Festival Orchestra after the MSFO’s final performance of the summer Aug. 7 in the Amphitheater. This summer, the Effron Fellowship received a $250,000 endowment gift from the Logan Foundation. Brett Phelps/Staff Photographer

Zoe Kolenovsky
Staff writer

Building on a legacy of patronage of the arts at Chautauqua, the Kay Hardesty Logan Foundation recently bestowed a $250,000 endowment toward the School of Music’s David Effron Conducting Fellowship.

The fellowship was first established through Logan’s support in 1997 — the first year of Timothy Muffitt’s tenure as Instrumental Program Artistic and Music Director and conductor of the Music School Festival Orchestra.

“It is unique in that we only bring one person into the fellowship,” Muffitt said. “Most conductor training programs have eight to 10 to 20 people and they work in a laboratory setting. … (This fellowship) works as an apprenticeship.”

Muffitt personally trains each year’s fellow, bringing them to all of his rehearsals and guiding them as they lead the MSFO on their own.

“He’s the most open and honest, and the most kind conductor that I’ve ever met. He is such a great mentor to have in this institution,” said Ryo Hasegawa, this year’s fellow. “He always creates a collaborative environment in communication with people, so it was a very valuable experience to study with him this summer.”

Hasegawa conducted three pieces in the Amphitheater this summer, one per show for the MSFO’s second, fourth and final concerts. He also organized many of the student musicians for two bonus performances on Bestor Plaza as a way to give back to the community.

“(All of the students) really made a very intimate connection, and I think that really reflected in our music-making,” said Hasegawa.  “That collaborative element, being together and creating together with these people who we trust, … it’s such a wonderful experience.”

Hasegawa was able to come to Chautauqua fully supported this summer, as the Logan Foundation covers all expenses for the Effron Fellow. 

Institution leadership and community members who have supported the Music School Festival Orchestra over the years raise a glass Aug. 7 on the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel in recognition of the Logan Foundation’s $250,000 gift to support the David Effron Conducting Fellowship. Brett Phelps/Staff Photographer

Kay Logan was a longtime Chautauquan with a passion for musical performance and education. During her lifetime, she gave to many of the arts programs at Chautauqua, including chamber music, the School of Music, the School of Dance and School of Art, with smaller donations often in the form of funding for facility renovations or student scholarships. She established the foundation before her death in 2016 as a means to continue this support on a larger scale, now overseen by close friends and family members.

“I think she realized that the Chautauqua Institution is a unique place for the education of young professionals, and she knew that we had resources here that no other place had,” said Muffitt. “She became a catalyst and a conduit for connecting resources to maximize the power of providing experiences for these young musicians … and she changed this place for the better in ways that will endure.”

Logan was a School of Music student herself in the 1950s and went on to become a celebrated professional flutist. She was highly influential in and among Institution leadership, and is remembered fondly and with great esteem.

“Kay was a dedicated, feisty, funny, loving, truth-telling woman,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, senior vice president and chief program officer. “She saw need, and she never assumed the answer was someone else’s responsibility. She made things happen.”

Marty Merkley, former vice president of programming at the Institution and current president of the Logan Foundation, described Logan as generous and pragmatic. 

“She did almost everything for the Institution that needed to be done,” he said. “Her philanthropic goals were to make things better for the students.”

The foundation now focuses its support on Chautauqua’s chamber music programs and the David Effron Conducting Fellowship. The $250,000 endowment for the fellowship — for which the Logan Foundation was celebrated in a private reception after the MSFO’s final performance of the summer on Aug. 7 — comes after last year’s $1 million gift to the Chautauqua Chamber Music Resident Artist Series and Guest Artist Series.

Kimberly Schuette, manager of artistic administration, is grateful to the foundation for its support of both chamber series. This is her second summer leading the programming for chamber music.

“What makes chamber music at Chautauqua so special is that we have a very devoted and interested audience here,” she said. “It shows the breadth of interest people have in music.”

The Logan Foundation also supports music education outside of Chautauqua, providing funds to programs in Chicago, Brooklyn, Erie, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, among others.

“There’s been an extensive expansion of the foundation since (Kay’s) death,” Merkley said. “We have done visual arts, we have done dance, we have done writing, we have done everything from chamber music, to orchestral, to education for developmentally challenged students.”

Merkley said he hopes that such gifts will shine a light on Kay Logan’s story as a patron of education and the arts.

“As the ancient Egyptians say, you live as long as your name is said, as long as your name is pronounced. So we felt it was important that we have some endowments that had her name on them to recognize her philanthropy over the years and the ongoing support for the programs that she had very strong interest in,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the legacy and her name alive.”


The author Zoe Kolenovsky