Naumburg, Walter Wehle
- Gary Galván
(b New York, NY, Dec 25, 1867; d New York, NY, Oct 17, 1959). American banker and music patron. Naumburg’s father, Elkan, came to the United States in his late teens and established a successful clothing company. Reportedly the son of a cantor, the elder Naumburg was himself an amateur musician and hosted weekly chamber music performances attended by important figures such as Leopold Damrosch, Theodore Thomas, and Marcella Sembrich. The Damrosch Oratorio Society of New York was conceived in his home. Thus, Walter Naumburg grew up in a musical environment; he began studying the cello at eight years of age. While a student at Harvard, Naumburg regularly performed in the Pierian Sodality orchestra; he graduated cum laude in 1889. He briefly entered his father’s business before its dissolution; thereafter he formed E. Naumburg & Co., a lucrative commercial lending firm. The family maintained a box at the newly constructed Carnegie Hall, and his father donated a bandstand to the city for Central Park, where he established a series of four concerts every summer. Walter and his brother, George, continued to fund the concerts after their father’s passing....