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date: 27 February 2020


  • John Shepard
  • , revised by Jessica Payette


Artists’ colony and music festival. The colony, established according to specifications in the will of Spencer and Katrina Trask, hosted its first visiting artists in 1926. The Trasks amassed a fortune in the expansion of American railroads and devised plans for the future of their 400-acre estate near Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1899. The 55-room mansion houses up to 40 artists for visits spanning two to eight weeks and provides isolated studios to composers and choreographers. Elizabeth Ames (1885–1977), the executive director from Yaddo’s inception to 1969, extended invitations to numerous composers, including Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Virgil Thomson, before the formal application process commenced in the mid-1940s. Subsequent composers in residence have included Leonard Bernstein, Chou Wen-chung, David Del Tredici, Ned Rorem, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Copland campaigned for the establishment of an annual music festival; however, only nine Yaddo Music Festivals, all presented in the mansion’s 300-seat music room, were held sporadically from ...

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Perspectives of New Music