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Dorothy Silverstein


“Kaufman Music Center fosters an understanding of the importance of music in people’s lives, what it does to their souls, what it does to their spirit. It brings together people from different backgrounds and ideologies.”  - Dorothy Silverstein

Dorothy Silverstein first came to Kaufman Music Center nearly 40 years ago when a friend invited her to meet some of the school’s young music students, explaining that many of them could not afford to pay for their lessons. “I was very appreciative of what the school was doing,” said Dorothy, now a nonagenarian, who fondly recalls a young cellist whose instrument was bigger than he. Since then, Dorothy has provided important, long-term support for scholarships giving children the opportunity to develop their musical talent at Kaufman Music Center. Together with her sister, she endowed the Ruth Copeland Scholarship in honor of her mother.

“Without a scholarship, I would not have been able to attend Radcliffe College,” says Dorothy, who is keenly aware of the importance of scholarships in creating access to top-notch programs. She hopes that the support she provides will give children – many of whom could not otherwise afford to study music – “an opportunity to develop a love for music, a capacity to understand and some ability to perform. It also gives them a chance to enlarge their focus, to get away from the world and to float on beauty.” It’s crucial for kids to learn music, Dorothy asserts. “Next to literacy comes music because it is balm for the soul. It also offers a wonderful way to concentrate effort, to learn that you have to be responsible for what comes out of your fingers or your throat.”

A piano student as a child, Dorothy loves Beethoven and is especially fond of string quartets and quintets. She graduated from Radcliffe College (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a Master’s Degree at Northwestern University. She then headed to New York City hoping to find a job on Wall Street, where she ended up breaking a few glass ceilings. During her 35 years at Irving Trust Company, she worked her way up to Vice President of the International Banking Division. Her husband, Paul, was supportive from day one.

Because music has meant so much to her throughout her life, Dorothy has included Kaufman’s Fund for Music Education in her estate planning. “Something of me will go on,” she explains. “It’s as simple as that. I know that the funds will help some children get a musical education that they might otherwise not receive. It’s something that makes me feel good.” Dorothy invites her friends to make a donation to Kaufman Music Center in honor of special occasions like birthdays or the holidays. “Rather than give me a thing,” she tells them, “give something that will help one of the kids take a class he or she would otherwise not be able to attend, or to acquire a decent violin or a better horn or flute.”

Dorothy has this advice for potential donors: “It’s very important that anybody who’s contemplating doing something that is bigger than they are and that will have impact, should support the scholarship funds for children at cultural institutions, beginning with Kaufman Music Center.

To support  the Fund for Music Education, click here or call our Development team at 212 501 3350.

Want to leave a legacy of music for the next generation? Get in touch to learn how including Kaufman Music Center in your estate plan can ensure the future of music education. Call us at 212 501 3350