1923 Inauguration of the Robert Mayer Concerts for Children

Samuel Kutcher  Orchestra Leader 1923 to 1935

Robert Mayer, a businessman and philanthropist, wanted to promote music education to children.  He was inspired by a series of concerts given by Walter Damroch  at the Carnegie Hall, New York. Damroch  not only conducted the orchestra but explained something of the works to be played to the audiences of children. The aim of the concerts was to give children an idea of how the symphony orchestra functions in its  separate parts and as a whole.

The first pilot season of three concerts started on March 29th 1923 at the Central Hall Westminster.  The first  and third concerts were to be conducted by Adrian Boult (the second by Damrosch).

Robert Mayer and Samuel  had know each other  since April 1917 when they were both in the 31st Middlesex Regiment during World War 1.  During this time they played music together for the benefit of the soldiers in hospital (1)

Adrian Boult

Walter Damrosch

From “Forty Years of Robert Mayer Concerts for Children” by Charles Reid“The first orchestra, and succeeding ones for many years were recruited by Mr. Eugene Cruft.. Led by Mr. Samuel Kutcher, the founding orchestra was fifty strong and of seasoned professional quality…. From the start the founders worked on the assumption that sooner or later they would play to a full house.. This is what, in fact gradually came to pass. At the inaugural concert … there were not more than 350 in the hall, half of them parents or teachers. The total attendance for the three concerts grew to 2000.” The role of the Orchestra Leader (or Concertmaster) ..is primarily the principal or first violinist. He makes his entrance onto the stage after all the orchestra are seated, greets the public on behalf of the orchestra and supervises the initial tuning. He has the priviledge of playing any violin solos written into the piece of music. He may also decide how a piece of music will be bowed, choosing when to use the up or down stroke so that all the violins are synchronized in their movements.  He sits close and to the left of the conductor. He acts as an intermediary between the conductor and orchestra when needed.

The Robert Mayer Concerts for Children

Comments & further information on the content of this page welcome