The Washington Post

Baldwin gives Capital One bucks to New York Philharmonic

Marriage must have made Alec Baldwin feel not only more blonde, but more generous. Two weeks ago, he was punching paparazzi. This week, after his marriage on Saturday to Hilaria Thomas, it was announced that he is giving $1 million (the proceeds from all those Capital One ads) to the New York Philharmonic.

“In support of my friends at the NY Phil,” he Tweeted, a few hours after supposedly shutting down his private Twitter account with the words “It’s been fun.” In a new guise, as the “Alec Baldwin Foundation,” he added, “My deepest love and respect to Zarin Mehta, outgoing Executive Director of the NY Phil.” After both Tweets, he linked to the announcement of the gift on the New York Times blog.

Above: Those Capital One ads turn out to serve classical music: Alec Baldwin has donated his million-dollar earnings to the New York Philharmonic.

Baldwin, 54, has been enjoying his role as the voice of the New York Philharmonic since 2009, appearing on the orchestra’s radio broadcasts and narrating a few performances. His gift to the Philharmonic is generous indeed, coming at the end of Mehta’s 12-year tenure with the orchestra, but also at a time when Baldwin is so much in the news, as a result of his wedding, that the gift is getting maximum publicity.

“I have loved classical music all of my life,” said Mr. Baldwin in a statement, “but Zarin Mehta made my dream of becoming part of the world of classical music come true.”

It’s a touching, even wistful reflection on the relation between classical music and mainstream celebrity. Many orchestras would to have this kind of high-profile endorsement. Baldwin makes it sound like he was also looking for a way in. Maybe all you have to do, on both sides, is ask.

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.



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