On Monday, the Kindler Foundation will mark its 25th anniversary in the same way that has distinguished its existence until now, by presenting the premiere of a work commissioned in the name and memory of Hans Kindler, the founder and first conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Before coming to Washington to begin the arduous job of starting a new orchestra, Kindler had been a cellist of world renown. In addition to a career that carried him to international music centers, he had served as first cellist in the Philadelphia Orchestra in some of the years that saw that ensemble rise to greatness under Leopold Stokowski.
Once Kindler got his own orchestra going in Washington, he carried on his habit of commissioning and performing new music. During his years as head of the National Symphony between 1931 and 1949, Kindler's programs included the world premieres of major works by composers of as varied styles as George Anthell, John Alden Carpenter, Henry Cowell, Roy Harris, Peter Musin, Robert Ward and others. On at least two occasions there were the premieres of works by George's Encocu and Alexander Tansman with the composers serving as conductors.
It is this interest in helping to bring forward new music that has been the principal aim of the Kindler Foundation, founded a few years after his death. Since 1953, when the first of its annual concerts was given, new music has been commissioned from a list of composers whose interests and styles are as ecletic as those with which Kindler associated himself. Washington composers have been as prominent on Kindler Foundation evenings as an earlier generation of local musicians was on National Symphony programs.
Music by Robert Evett, Robert Paris, Esther Ballou, Richard Bales, Sarge de Gostyne, David Amran and others has been heard each January around the 8th of the month, which was Kindler's birthday. Commissions have also been awarded to foreign composers including Betsy Jolas, Malcolm Williamson - now Master of the Queen's Music in England - Theodore Antoniou, Bohuslav Martinu, Juan Orrego Salas, and over a dozen more.
Out of the 24 works created under these auspices, it is good to recall the special impact of some: "Pale Is This Good Prince" by Karl Korte, Williamson's "In Place of Belief," the Amram Woodwind Quintet, Esther Ballou's 5-4-3 and Richard Bales song cycle, "A Set of Jade" are only a few that proved memorable.
On Monday, the new work will be by Robert Hall Lewis, for some years professor of composition and theory at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.It is called Facets and is for cello and piano, a combination that has been employed in four previous commissioned works for the Kindler series, appropriately recalling Kindler's own instrument. The Lewis premiere will be a part of a program to be played by Stephen Katez, with Ellen Mack, pianist. The new music will be framed by the Beethoven Sonata in G Minor and the Raclisaninov Sonata in the same key.
Concerts under the auspices of the Kindler Foundation are given at the Textile Museum, 2329 S St. NW, which is the address of the foundation. Admission is by membership, details of which are available from the president, Sidney Shear, 6095 28th St. North, Arlington, Va. 22207.