The Isiaiah Sheffer Fund for New Initiatives

Isaiah Sheffer Fund for New Initiatives

Isaiah Sheffer 3

Isaiah Sheffer was the creative force behind Symphony Space from the day he and Allan Miller opened the doors for Wall to Wall Bach on January 7, 1978. As the Founding Artistic Director, Isaiah created and directed many of Symphony Space’s beloved programs including Selected Shorts, The Thalia Follies, All Write!, and Bloomsday on Broadway. He captivated, enlightened, and entertained all of us: audiences, artists, colleagues, and the community alike. Isaiah passed away on November 9, 2012.

To honor Isaiah’s work and legacy, Symphony Space established the Isaiah Sheffer Fund for New Initiatives when he stepped down as Artistic Director in 2010. The Isaiah Fund endowment ensures that new ideas and programs continue to flourish at Symphony Space, allowing our directors and curators the ability to deliver their finest work.

We express our appreciation to all who have contributed to the Isaiah Sheffer Fund for New Initiatives. For more information, please contact Julie Griffith at 212.864.1414 x229 or julie.griffith@symphonyspace.org.


In the 2015-16 season, 5% of the endowment was used to support new work and new initiatives. Six projects were funded.

1. New York Public Library Exhibition: "Symphony Space: A Cultural Town Square"

From October 2015 to January 2016, the exhibition "Symphony Space: A Cultural Town Square" was on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Organized on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the opening of Symphony Space’s building, the exhibition and the opening reception on October 14 also launched the 2015-16 season and Project Fifteen, a month long programming initiative that explored the cultural world of 1915.

2. Selected Shorts comission: Seth Fried "The Metamorphosis"

Seth Fried was commissioned to write the story “The Metamorphosis” as part of Project Fifteen. Seth's story was read by Jennifer Mudge on October 21, 2015, as part of Selected Shorts: 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories.

3. Music commission: David Lang Broken

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang was commissioned to write a new work for the opening event of the Fuse Project. David's piece Broken for viol and viola received its world premiere in the Thalia on February 1, 2016. Performers were Nadia Sirota (viola) and Liam Byrne (viol).

4. Music commission: Donnacha Dennehy's Tessellatum

Donnacha Dennehy's new work Tessellatum for 4 violas and 13 viols was commissioned by Symphony Space with support of the Fund. This ambitious 40-minute work received its world premiere during the Fuse Project on February 5, 2016, in the Sharp Theatre, in a performance led by violist Nadia Sirota.

5. New literature-in-performance series: Too Hot for Radio

A new series was launched in February as part of the Fuse Project. This literature-in-performance and podcast series features stories that are not suitable for the Selected Shorts radio series. The Fund supported two live events in the 15-16 season as well as the initial costs of the bi-weekly podcast series, which will be launched in the summer of this year.

6. New documentary, Art and Heart: The World of Isaiah Sheffer

Symphony Space contributed to this documentary directed by Catherine Tambini, which was first screened as part of the New York Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center in January 2016.


$100,000 AND ABOVE

Kay and Elliot Cattarulla

Mrs. Walter Scheuer

$50,000 TO $99,999

Mary Rodgers Guettel*

William and Angela Haines

$10,000 TO $49,999

Steven M. and Evelyn Alden

Gina and David Boonshoft

Elizabeth Richebourg Rea

and the Dungannon Foundation

$5,000 TO $9,999

Steven and Sheila Aresty

Benjamin Fried and Noreen Wu

Eugene M. Lang Foundation

Ellen Frey McCourt

Richard Mittenthal and Patsy Glazer

Leonard* and Susan Bay Nimoy

Jane Pollock and Philip Berney

$1,000 TO $4,999

Susan Beckerman

Melvin and Carole Cohen

Charles Dimston

Jeanne Donovan Fisher

Cynthia Elliott and R. Douglass Rice

Extell Development Company

Cecily Fox

Susan Kaplan and David Friedson

Mary Weitzel Gibbons

Carol Green

Dr. Samuel L. Guillory

Louise Hirschfeld Cullman

Ronald and Priscilla Hoffman

Thomas M. Kelly

James and Ellyn Polshek

Judith M. Saffer

Marcia Santoni and John Morris

Steven Schrader and Lucy Kostelanetz

Jeremy T. Smith and the JTS Fund at

New York Community Trust

David Teiger

Amy Wilson and David Flannery

Peg Wreen

As of July 1, 2015
* Deceased