Founding & History

Created By Musicians for Musicians

The Musicians Foundation was incorporated in 1914 by The Bohemians, a prestigious New York-based musicians club whose membership has included the most renowned names in the music industry for over 100 years.

Forward-thinking and philanthropic, the original Bohemians decided that rather than invest in a permanent clubhouse of their own, they would direct their formidable fund-raising abilities toward creating and endowing an organization “to provide voluntary aid and assistance to professional musicians and their families in case of need.”

The Bohemians set to work making their philanthropic vision a reality, drawing on the extraordinary talents and connections of their members. An early benefit concert, described by Bohemians historian H.E. Krehbiel as “the most sensational incident of the 1913 musical season,” featured Pablo Casals, Max Liebling, and Jan Paderewski. Charles Steinway spoke on behalf of the foundation, and the famed opera singer Madame Marcella Sembrich gave a concert for the organization in 1915. Over the years, music’s brightest stars, among them Jascha Heifetz, Yo-Yo Ma, and Isaac Stern, have lent their skills and artistry in support of the Musicians Foundation’s important work.

The relationship between The Bohemians and Musicians Foundation remains strong today, with considerable Musicians Foundation funding continuing to come from Bohemian members. The Bohemians not only founded what has become the nation’s oldest charitable organization for musicians, they forged a culture of compassion, responsibility and respect that continues to define the Musicians Foundation mission today.