The Philadelphia Orchestra recently received extraordinary pledges from two generous donors, Peter Benoliel and Hannah Henderson, to name and endow important chairs in the ensemble. Named, endowed chairs are critical to the artistic excellence of the Orchestra, providing sustained annual income that allows us to recruit and retain the very finest musicians in the world.
Peter A. Benoliel, a well-known and respected figure in the Orchestra family, has endowed the Joseph Brodo Chair in the second violin section. Benoliel is a distinguished civic and business leader, serving as CEO of Quaker Chemical, as a director of numerous leading companies, and as a director and chairman of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. He’s played an equally impressive role as a volunteer leader, serving as an emeritus trustee of the Curtis Institute, chairman emeritus of the Settlement Music School, and former chairman of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Board of Directors.
Peter grew up loving classical music, attending Philadelphia Orchestra concerts conducted by Leopold Stokowski as a young man. He began taking violin lessons from Joseph Brodo, who served as a member of the Orchestra from 1918 to 1924 and then again from 1943 to 1960. Peter’s gift to endow the Joseph Brodo Chair, currently held by violinist Booker Rowe, pays tribute to his former teacher. This is the second chair he has endowed in the Orchestra—the first was the Peter A. Benoliel Chair, currently held by Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher.
Hannah L. Henderson, a long-term subscriber who is passionate about music and the arts, has endowed the Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Chair in the horn section of the Orchestra. Hannah, a native of Boston from a family that always supported music, art, and education, has been a subscriber and Philadelphia Orchestra fan for 40 years. Her late husband, J. Welles Henderson, led a distinguished law career, serving as a partner at Palmer, Biezup & Henderson and as honorary consul general to Japan. Welles was also the founder and chairman of the Independence Seaport Museum and served on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the World Affairs Council, the Independence Hall Association, and the Fairmount Park Art Association, among others. Hannah and Welles were married for 57 years before he passed away in 2007. The Henderson Chair will be held by Associate Principal Horn Jeffrey Lang.
The Orchestra Family is deeply grateful to Peter and Hannah for these commitments to sustain and strengthen the artistic excellence of our ensemble.