RPI professor left $7 million to Albany Symphony

Donor died in February at age 98
Music Director David Alan Miller leads the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Music Director David Alan Miller leads the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

ALBANY — Former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute physics professor Heinrich Medicus, who passed away in February at age 98, left $7 million to the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Justin Cooke, a spokesman for the ASO, said it received a bequest from the will of the Swiss-born professor, who began his long teaching career at RPI in 1955.

Medicus reportedly left a total of $9 million to various arts groups, with ASO getting the bulk of that gift. He also left $5.5 million to health care organizations in the Capital Region.

An ASO news release announcing Medicus’ gift said it “was the largest financial gift received in the symphony’s history. As an endowment gift, the use of the funds is restricted to the income they produce. Through his bequest, Dr. Medicus ensured that his decades of support of the orchestra he loved would continue in perpetuity.”

The ASO also announced plans to dedicate and name its top artistic post in honor of Medicus during a special onstage ceremony at its first subscription concert of the season, Nov. 18 at Albany’s Palace Theatre.

“Heinrich Medicus was one of the most passionate music lovers I ever had the privilege of knowing,” ASO Music Director David Alan Miller said in a statement to media. “Music, to him, was as life-sustaining as food and water. While he was most attached to the glorious Germany repertory he grew up with, he was one of the most open-minded listeners I ever encountered. We will miss him terribly, but his spirit will be with us every time we make music together.”

The special pre-concert ceremony on Nov. 18 will begin at 7:30 p.m., led by Miller and representatives from the ASO board of directors. The concert program will feature the Albany Symphony’s first performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in more than 25 years and a dramatic musical retelling of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” by American composer David Del Tredici. During its 2018-19 season, the ASO will perform a concert with special repertoire in honor Dr. Medicus’ 100th birthday in December 2018.

“Heinrich’s commitment to the Albany Symphony was unmatched,” said Jerry Golub, chairman of the group’s board of directors. “His generous bequest provides an incredible foundation upon which we can build our future.”

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