$1 Million Gift From Baisley Powell Elebash Fund Endows Global Music Program

June 27, 2022

The funds will support an array of academic and cultural programming at the Graduate Center.

Elebash Gift Announcement
Betsayda Machado y La Parranda performed in the CUNY Graduate Center's Live@365 concert series in March 2018.

A $1 million gift from the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund will establish an endowment to bring musicians and music scholars from around the world to the CUNY Graduate Center, located in Manhattan. The donation will support concerts, talks, symposia, and festivals for students, faculty, staff, and alumni from campuses throughout The City University of New York, as well as for the general public.

“This generous gift from a longtime partner will make the Graduate Center a true destination for experiencing the finest music from across the globe,” said Robin L. Garrell, president of the Graduate Center. “We are deeply grateful to the Elebash Fund for making it possible to celebrate – in perpetuity – the beauty of music from diverse cultures, and to bring new sounds, ideas, and inspiration into the heart of New York City. This bold investment amplifies our mission to offer vibrant public events that draw upon and contribute to the complex communities of New York and beyond.” 

Annual income from the endowed fund will support the kind of cross-cultural programming that has distinguished the popular Live@365 concerts at the Graduate Center, also funded with a generous gift from the Elebash Fund. Performance highlights of that series, curated by Isabel Soffer, included Brazilian legend Dona Onete, Grammy-winning all-female mariachi ensemble Flor de Tolache, Tibetan singer Yunchen Lhamo, and Ethiopian artist Girma Beyene. 


Elebash Gift Announcement
Michel Merhej and the Bil Afrah Project performed in the CUNY Graduate Center's Live@365 concert series in December 2018.

With the new fund, the Graduate Center will offer a variety of musical performances and presentations, such as concerts, artist’s talks, and symposia and festivals exploring different and distinctive musical traditions. As in the past, students and faculty will have special opportunities to share their scholarship and connect to these artists.

“The beautiful Elebash Recital Hall has been home to diverse musical sounds — everything from Puerto Rican boleros to modern ritual songs of Ukraine to tradition-bending Korean music,” said Karen Sander, director of public programs at the Graduate Center. “These programs reflect the diversity of CUNY students and faculty and deepen our understanding of all cultural traditions. This gift reaffirms the importance of this work, now more than ever, and we are so grateful to the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund for its steadfast support.”

The 180-seat Elebash Recital Hall at the Graduate Center was named for Baisley Powell Elebash in 1998 in recognition of a prior gift. Designed with acoustics, comfort, and accessibility in mind, it has become a highly sought-after space for Graduate Center programs as well as those presented by community organizations. 

Live events supported by the new fund will be announced later this year. 

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