Honoring our History – Remembering Clinton B. Ford

Clinton B. Ford
 

On October 26, 2002, three members of ACMP, Stephen Symchych (Vn)  Newton, MA, Martha Jaffe (Vn/Va), Newton Center, MA, and William Simmons (Vc) ,Woods Hole, MA, took part in a performance of the Brahms Sextet in G Major, Op. 36, to honor the memory of Clinton B. Ford. The performance was sponsored by The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), a group that represented Clinton B. Ford’s other passion in life, Astronomy.

Bill Simmons said, “We performed at the final banquet dinner in Somerville  (a few miles east of the AAVSO’s Headquarters in Cambridge, MA) after three solid days of scientific meetings. It was a splendid occasion in every way. I hadn’t known it previously, but apparently Clint and his pals often performed at the AAVSO’s annual meetings, and when they didn’t perform, they’d hole up in their rooms after scientific sessions and play into the wee smalls, often with entourages of AAVSO groupies listening. Thus, this was an especially nostalgic performance for them, and they really loved it, as did we.”

Who was this man who loved music and stars?  He said of himself, “Most people are unaware of it, but an important event for them took place on March 1, 1913, the date when the first permanent peace-time federal income tax took effect. A simultaneous unimportant event was my birth. I came in with the Income Tax. I’d like to say that when I go out, I’ll take it with me. Some things really are impossible.”

Clinton Ford’s “burn for Astronomy” started in his youth under his father’s tutelage at the University of Michigan’s Observatory. By the age of 14, he had observed his first variable star, and became the youngest person ever to be admitted as a member of that group. His unvarying interest in music also started in childhood with violin lessons. In his autobiographical sketch for AAVSO, Some Stars, Some Music, (AAVSO, 1986) Ford said “When my  grandfathers’ brother, a Civil War veteran, a grand old man who everyone called Uncle Clinton, learned that his namesake was playing the violin he gave me his own violin. It was no Strad, but it was better than the “cheese-box” my father had, on which I was scratching out the rudiments.”

Some of Clinton Ford’s happiest musical memories were at his family house, “The Manse” in Ovid, New York, near Cayuga Lake. He would host musical house parties at which marathon sessions of chamber music would be interspersed with delicious meals that he loved to prepare on an outdoor stone grill. He moved to Connecticut in his later years and played viola in the Stamford Symphony and chamber music with ACMP Board member William  Selden (Vla-A, Vl- B), Westport, CT.

Clinton B. Ford died on September 23, 1992, sixty-five years to the day on which he made his first variable star observation.

His bequest to ACMP was a total surprise that amazed the Board and even made them slightly apprehensive.  After all, ACMP had never been about money. An organization devoted to playing chamber music for pleasure has few needs beyond a modest budget to maintain records and publish the Directory.  What should we do? How best to use these resources?  How to adapt to change without losing our basic identity and values? After intensive thought and debate, the ACMP Foundation was created.

First published ACMP Newsletter, December 2002

More Articles

Meet Joel Epstein: violinist, violist, writer, arranger, educator and ACMP member since the 1970s

Violinist, violist, writer, arranger and educator Joel Epstein has been a member of ACMP since the 1970s. Get to know Joel and read about his book "Music for the Love of It: Episodes in Amateur Music-Making" and about his important work teaching music to status-less children in Israel.

Read More ↗

Meet ACMP Pianist and Educator James Daly

You may have been wondering about the people featured in the mockups for ACMP's new Timbre app-in-progress. AI was not involved in any way - all of those people are real members of ACMP with profiles in our Directory of Chamber Musicians. California-based pianist and educator James Daly is the man in the header image for the blog article about Timbre. Read all about his path to becoming a musician and educator and enjoy a 20% ACMP member discount on his original T-shirts and other merchandise.

Read More ↗

Timbre Reveal: a sneak peak at ACMP’s new app-in-progress

Take a sneak peek at “Timbre” - ACMP's first ever app, in its early stages of development. Timbre will be a fun, visual, and more immediate way to find other ACMP members while you’re casually scrolling on your phone.

Read More ↗

A conversation with filmmaker Hilan Warshaw

In the lead-up to the ACMP Film Club event about Hilan Warshaw's "Secret Song" on Sunday, February 18 at 2pm ET, ACMP's Executive Director Stephanie Griffin had the pleasure of catching up with Hilan, and asking him about how his background as a musician led to a unique career as a filmmaker with a primary focus on musical subjects.

Read More ↗

Eugene Drucker and Hilan Warshaw discuss “Secret Song”

Join ACMP on Sunday, February 18 at 2pm Eastern for an online discussion with film-maker Hilan Warshaw and former Emerson Quartet violinist Eugene Drucker about the genesis of "Secret Song," the making of the film and the sultry story behind Alban Berg's Lyric Suite for string quartet.

Read More ↗

Harmonizing Decades: A 2024 Follow-up to our 1996 Quartet session

When ACMP member violinist Gualtiero Morpurgo was visiting the United States from Milan in 1996, he found fellow violinist Mark Atkins in the ACMP Directory. Mark organized a string quartet session with Gualtiero, and later in life learned of his touching life story.

Read More ↗

How to put on a great adult chamber music workshop

Join ACMP Secretary and Grants Committee chair Susan Alexander on Tuesday, January 23 at 2:30pm Eastern for an illuminating online panel discussion about how to organize your own adult amateur chamber music workshop. Susan will be joined by experts in the field: Javier Caballero (Executive Director of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music), Susie Ikeda (Executive Director of the Chamber Music Conference) and pianist/educator Nancy Breth (founder of the Levine School of Music's Chamber Music Weekend for adult amateurs.)

Read More ↗

Announcing the 2023 Holiday Caption Contest Winners!

ACMP’s 2nd annual Holiday Caption Contest was a resounding success! We received 96 captions from 44 ACMP members – exactly twice as many participants as last year. This year's winners were Raul Kottler, Ken Margolis and Rebecca Sayles.

Read More ↗

Rochester Report: An Interview with NAOC Councilor Roberta Zalkind

On a recent visit to Rochester, NY, ACMP Executive Director Stephanie Griffin reached out to local NAOC councilor and fellow violist Roberta Zalkind. Roberta gave Stephanie a tour of the Eastman Community Music School (a repeat ACMP grantee), introduced her to the school's director Petar Kodzas and invited her home for dinner, where the two violists got acquainted with one another and discussed the state of amateur chamber music in Rochester. After the visit, Stephanie followed up with this interview with Roberta.

Read More ↗

Report from the Netherlands: Excerpts from “Amateurs in European Music”

Here are a few highlights from an essay written by Marine Park, participant of the Wijnhaven Festival, Dordrecht, Netherlands in conjunction with Bas van Ouwerkerk, organizer of the Festival. This version is a translation of some selected excerpts from the full essay which was published in Korean in the Music Journal of Korea.

Read More ↗

Introducing new IAC Chair, Sean Knox

ACMP is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean Knox as Chair of its International Advisory Council (IAC). Sean is a professionally trained cellist and also plays the piano (and recently started learning the harp). He is passionate about playing chamber music, and has done so with numerous groups in London, Switzerland and his home country of South Africa.

Read More ↗

Chamber Music in France! The Trouville-sur-Mer Workshop Report

The Trouville-sur-Mer chamber music workshop was a success this year. Twenty-two participants ranging in age from 11 to 82 came from various parts of France and abroad. The workshop culminated in two well-attended concerts.

Read More ↗

Rice University Chamber Music Club Partners with ACMP

The Rice University Chamber Music Club is the first official university-student organization to be affiliated with ACMP. Founded by violinist Gale Gai, the club just held its first concert, sponsored in part by a Just Play grant from ACMP!

Read More ↗

Two left hands! On playing Christopher Walken’s left hand in “A Late Quartet”

Longtime ACMP supporter, cellist and chamber music workshop organizer David Bakamjian is also a movie star! He played Christopher Walken's left hand in Yaron Zilberman's 2012 film "A Late Quartet." Watch or rewatch the film and then join ACMP in a film club discussion on Saturday December 9 at 2pm Eastern with two professional chamber musicians who coached the actors on playing violin and viola.

Read More ↗

Giving Back to the Community: ACMP and Music for Food

On the 2023 New York City Marathon Day - Sunday, November 5 - over 40 ACMP members from the New York City metropolitan area joined forces in an en masse Play-In at Broadway Presbyterian Church, as a benefit for violist Kim Kashkashian's nonprofit Music for Food, a musician-led initiative to fight hunger in our local communities.

Read More ↗

ACMP Film Club: A Late Quartet

Former Attacca Quartet members Keiko Tokunaga and Luke Fleming share their insights on Yaron Zilberman's film "A Late Quartet."

Read More ↗

A new way to support ACMP: Holiday Shopping!

Buy exciting holiday merchandise and a hard-to-find book in ACMP's new online store!

Read More ↗

Home Coaching Report: David Yang in Belgium

American violist David Yang traveled to Belgium to coach two string quartets from the local membership organization I Cambristi Brussels, September 15 - 17, 2023. The project was funded by two Home Coaching Grants from ACMP.

Read More ↗

Away, Away to the UK

NAOC Chair Celeste Chau enjoyed meeting ACMP members on her recent travels in the United Kingdom.

Read More ↗

An Interview with the Dalí Quartet: Winners of the 2023 Susan McIntosh Lloyd Award

ACMP awarded its 2023 Susan McIntosh Lloyd Award for Excellence and Diversity in Chamber Music to the Dalí Quartet, based in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Now in its twentieth year, the Dalí Quartet’s mission is to bring Latin American quartet repertoire to an equal standing alongside the Classical and Romantic canon. In addition to its performance activities, the group has a deep commitment to education. Many of its educational activities take place under the umbrella of ArcoNet, a nonprofit founded and directed by the quartet’s violist Adriana Linares in 2012.

Read More ↗

Load More

 

All Articles By