One hundred years ago, a group of musical luminaries who were members of The Bohemians — a club that included Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Pablo Casals and Jascha Heifetz — recognized the critical need to provide emergency financial relief to musicians in distress. In doing so, these socially engaged artists helped pioneer the course of charitable giving in this country.

Encouraged by the ratification of the 16th Amendment and the Revenue Act of 1913 establishing tax exemption for certain organizations, The Bohemians immediately set about creating the Musicians Foundation.  In creating the country’s first nonprofit in support of musicians, these celebrated artists not only made an indelible mark on American culture with their own music, but were prescient enough to protect the future of music created by professional musicians of any genre. Founded on May 8, 1914, the Musicians Foundation has since proven tireless in providing both short- and long-term support to legions of musicians. The organization’s beneficiaries include the legendary late singer Jimmy Scott, jazz pianist Brooks Kerr and Bruce Langhorne — the real-life inspiration for Bob Dylan’s iconic song, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” By ensuring that these artists were able to endure hardships, the Musicians Foundation has enriched all our lives exponentially.

In commemoration of this prestigious centennial milestone, the Musicians Foundation has just announced that Wynton Marsalis, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez will join the organization’s Advisory Council.

Among his numerous achievements, Mr. Marsalis is the recipient of nine Grammy Awards, (he is the first artist to win for both jazz and classical recordings,) and a Pulitzer Prize for Music. He is the first jazz artist ever to have achieved this. Honored throughout the world with many more coveted distinctions, Marsalis currently serves as the Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC.

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez are the celebrated team who wrote the music for Disney’s Frozen, including “Let It Go,” for which they won an Oscar. Additionally, Mr. Lopez co-wrote the music for The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. He is one of only twelve people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award, and the only person to win all four within a decade.

Says Musicians Foundation President, Hans Tausig:

We are immensely honored to have the invaluable advice and support of such renowned artists who have all made groundbreaking contributions to music. Their extraordinary creative abilities will undoubtedly add new depth to our work. And their commitment to helping fellow artists will provide a game-changing boost to the ways in which the Musicians Foundation impacts the lives of musicians in crisis.

On joining the Musicians Foundation Advisory Council, Kristen and Bobby Lopez have expressed the following:

We are so pleased to be joining the Musicians Foundation family.  For 100 years they have been helping musicians in times of tragedy, crisis and severe adversity. This mission is dear to our hearts. There can be no music without musicians, and we recognize that any one of us could need help at some time. We feel honored to lend support to other artists through this compassionate and honorable organization.

Adds B.C. Vermeersch, Executive Director of the Musicians Foundation:

In anticipation of the holiday season, when charitable giving is more top-of-mind, it is worth remembering how little support is offered to musicians  and music teachers in general, let alone in times of crisis. Lack of viable employment, illness, natural disasters, crime victimization… these can happen to anyone at any time.  But there is no such thing as automatic workman’s comp, sick leave or pension plans for most musicians and music teachers. We’re there to help them and their families in emergencies, so they can maintain a sense of dignity and get back to the important work of making music.