HRH The Prince of Wales presented medals to Live Music Now Founder-Chairman Ian Stoutzker, CBE and his wife Mercedes for their support and philanthropy of the arts. 11 December 2013
It was 1961, more than 50 years ago now, when Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker made their first gift to the arts. The recipient was the Royal College of Music, which established the Ian Stoutzker Prize for excellence in violin-playing. Just a few years before, Ian himself might have been a contender to win it. As a young man he trained at the College under Albert Sammons, before eventually choosing a new path at the London School of Economics. Perhaps no musician has ever done so much for music after choosing a new career.
Over the years Ian has supported many musical projects but he believes his greatest contribution was founding Live Music Now with Yehudi Menuhin in 1977. This pioneering idea brought music to children with special needs, and into hospices, care homes for the elderly and similar venues. At the same time, young musicians would have paid opportunities to develop their experience. Today it is the foremost musicians' development and outreach charity in Europe and has given over 50,000 workshops and interactive performances throughout the UK. Ian remains the active founder chairman.
He has also been chairman of the Philharmomia Orchestra and later, was Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the London Symphony Orchestra. At the Royal College of Music he was made a vice president having served many years on the executive committee, and he maintains his interest in the Musicians Benevolent Fund as a member of the Advisory Council. Among his major gifts was a donation to the Royal Academy of Music to enable them to complete their acquisition of the Viotti ex Bruce Stradivarius for their collection. The gesture was important. Other donors often saw Ian's involvement as a sign that the fiddle must worth it.
More recently, in 2011, with the help of £500,000 from the Stoutzkers, the Royal Welsh College completed the Dora Stoutzker Hall, a world class venue named after Ian's mother, a music teacher from Tredegar, South Wales, who gave him her love of music. "The hall is humming with activity, all day every day," says the college principal, Hilary Boulding. "It is hugely loved and now affectionately known as 'the Dora'." In Wales the Stoutzkers also sponsor the Only Men Aloud and the Only Boys Aloud scheme that was founded by Live Music Now alumnus Tim Rhys Evans.
If it ended here, the list of their kind acts would already be long enough. Yet Ian and Mercedes have been equally generous to visual art. When Mercedes came to London from Morocco in 1958 she brought a deep love of art with her. With limited means at the time, she was able to acquire works by great British artists who were not yet fully appreciated, and over time the couple came to live surrounded by a superb collection. However, both Ian and Mercedes believe that art should be shared by as many people as possible, so in 2012 they donated nine important works to Tate, by artists such as David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Peter Doig, RB Kitaj and Rachel Whiteread, valued altogether at more than £12m. Besides their generosity, "it is their quiet grace and modesty," says Sir Nicholas Serota, "which makes them such wonderful people to work with."
Arts & Business invited nominations from arts bodies the length and breadth of the UK to collate a first wave of potential recipients. The recipients, who could be UK or foreign nationals, will receive their medal in recognition of their philanthropic support of cultural activities in the United Kingdom or of UK artists or organisations presented overseas.
The Prince of Wales' "Arts Cluster Group" drew up a short list of twenty philanthropists to go forward to a final judging panel of artists, who selected the five recipients. This panel includes Greg Doran (Associate Director RSC), Dame Monica Mason (former Director of The Royal Ballet) and Christopher Le Brun (Artist). The medals have been presented every year since 2008.
The Honourees for The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy 2013:
1. Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker
2. Philip and Christine Carne
3. Ms Delfina Entrecanales
4. Lady Rothschild & Lord Rothschild
5. Lady Bernstein
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:
"The five recipients of this year's Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy are a true inspiration, not only for the financial impact of their generosity but also the care and support they invest in those who benefit from their help. They are fully deserving of this recognition and I hope their actions encourage future generations to act with the same kindness and philanthropic endeavour. "
2013 Honourees of the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy
(Left to right) Philip and Christine Carne, Lord Rothschild, Ms Delfina Entrecanales, Joanna Lumley,
HRH The Prince of Wales, Ian and Mercedes Stoutzker, Lady Bernstein, and Philip Spedding
Photo: Paul Burns
Courtesy: Arts & Business