The Curtis Institute of Music board of trustees on Wednesday elected Baroness Nina von Maltzahn its new chair, replacing H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest as of June 1. Lenfest, head of the board since 2006 and the most generous benefactor since its original patrons founded the conservatory, was recognized with the title chairman emeritus.
Maltzahn lives mostly in Uruguay but spends time in Berlin, Zurich, and New York - reflecting Curtis' ever-expanding reach into other geographic areas for students, audiences, and donors.
"This in no way negates our local roots, but we've become a global force for music," said executive vice president Elizabeth Warshawer. Curtis expects to name more national and international members to the board.
Born in New York City and educated in London and Geneva, Maltzahn is founder and president of the Fundación Retoño (Sapling Foundation), a nonprofit that works on developing opportunities for at-risk children in Uruguay. She serves on the boards of the American Academy in Berlin, the James Simon Foundation, and the Ilsenberg Abbey Foundation. She is a member of the International Council of the Salzburg Easter Festival's Association of Patrons.
Despite her international ties, Maltzahn will be a presence at Curtis, as she has been. She was introduced to the school several years ago - "It was love at first sight," she once told The Inquirer - and has been deeply involved since. She was a member of the board of overseers from 2008-10, then joined the board. She has underwritten the guitar and string quartet programs, endowed two faculty chairs and the harp room, and has been involved with the school's Curtis on Tour program in Europe.
More locally, Edward A. "Ned" Montgomery Jr. will continue to serve as vice chair and will be joined by vice chair Robert H. "Bob" Mundheim beginning in June. It was Mundheim who introduced Maltzahn to the school. She was recommended as board chair by a search committee headed by arts patron Sheldon Bonovitz.
"We're pretty excited about this. The board is very solid," Warshawer said. "It's an evolution. For five years, we've been talking about having a greater global presence, making sure we are attracting students from all corners of the world. Nina will introduce us to people we have not yet met in places where we may have not yet been. She is so passionate about music. It's a great fit."