In 1894, a group of music lovers gathered in a stately home on Hillhouse Avenue and voted to guarantee the funding needed to form a symphony orchestra in their beloved city. Thus began New Haven’s reign as the cultural capital of Connecticut and the tradition of audiences helping to fund world-class music in their hometown. One initial “guarantor” was Henry Fowler English, grandfather of Richard English who continued the family’s 118 year-old tradition of supporting the NHSO. His annual gifts and endowed funds have provided crucial underwriting for the Symphony’s live performances and regional education programs.
Richard English was an arts patron, pianist, and philanthropist with a passion for music, birds, and the love of the New Haven community. Born in New Haven on March 5, 1935 he was the son of Philip and Katharine Dana English. He was descended from noted Yale scientist James Dwight Dana on his mother’s side and two Connecticut governors on his father’s side.
He was educated at The Foote School, Pomfret, Proctor Academy, Nichols College, Quinnipiac College, and the Neighborhood Music School. Mr. English was acknowledged as a fine musicologist and ornithologist. He was retired from The First New Haven National Bank and was a past President and longest-standing member of the New Haven Bird Club.
Classical music was part of his everyday life and this love blossomed into an impressive expertise that continued throughout his lifetime. This passion for music and affection for the New Haven community prompted Mr. English to leave a bequest establishing a fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, supporting the NHSO. His generous donation will influence the success of the NHSO in incredible ways for generations to come.