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Our History

1965 Father Eugène Merlet, a Capuchin-Franciscan priest and musician, founds Pro Musicis in France, a non-denominational organization, for the international exchange and career development of concert artists. The first concerts are presented in Paris and London.
1966 A series of concerts are presented in Rome and Pope Paul VI encourages Father Merlet to pursue his vision. Award winners: Patrice Fontanarosa, violin; Dominique Merlet, piano.
1969 Pro Musicis is incorporated as a non-profit organization in New York State with an office in New York City.
1971 The Village Voice calls the United States inaugural Pro Musicis concert at the Tombs, Manhattan House of Detention, “this city’s best musical event in a long time.” Pro Musicis Artists tour in Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
1972 Violinist Henryk Szeryng performs a benefit concert for Pro Musicis.
1973 Clarinetist Esther Lamneck and pianist Gary Steigerwalt begin an extensive New York City tour at Riker’s Island Detention Center.
1975 Award winners: Esther Lamneck, clarinet; Gary Steigerwalt, piano.
1976 Cellist Sharon Robinson performs at the Rothko Chapel, the Women’s Jail and Bon Taub Hospital in Houston, Texas. Award winners: Gita Karasik, piano; Sharon Robinson, cello.
1977 Award winner: Elizabeth Parcells, soprano.
1978 Soprano Elizabeth Parcells performs inaugural concerts in Boston’s Jordan Hall and Massachusetts State Hospital. Award winners: Lydia Artymiw, piano; Doreen DeFeis, soprano; Stephanie Jutt, flute; Jeffrey Kahane, piano.
1979 Award winner: Kim Kashkashian, viola.
1980 Award winners: Steven Kanoff, clarinet; Christopher O’Riley, piano; Peter Oundjian, violin; Hélèna Wickett, piano.
1981 A full season of 37 concerts presented in New York, Boston and San Francisco. Yehudi Menuhin performs for Pro Musicis at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Award winners: Pamela Frame, cello; Elizabeth Wolff, piano.
1982 French Public Television produces a ninety-minute documentary featuring Pro Musicis artists in performance in various American halls and community service venues. Award winners: Nancy Allen, harp; Robert Taub, piano; Richard Todd, French horn.
1983 Award winners: Robert Dick, flute; Joyce Lindorff, harpsichord; Diane Monroe, violin; Kimball Wheeler, mezzo-soprano.
1984 Peter Oundjian and the Tokyo String Quartet perform for Pro Musicis at the Soledad State Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. Frederica von Stade performs a benefit for Pro Musicis in New York City.
1985 Pro Musicis inaugurates a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. presenting pianist Lydia Artymiw. Award winners: Gary Louie, saxophone; Cynthia Raim, piano; Shauna Rolston, cello; Ilton Wjuniski, harpsichord.
1986 A partnership with the Music Department of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art begins. Award winners: Michael Faust, flute; Jon Klibonoff, piano; Joseph Lulloff, saxophone; Carmit Zori, violin.
1987 Robert de Rothschild succeeds Charles Ellis as Board Chair and serves until 1995.
1987 Madame Jacqueline Massy-Metadier gave Pro Musicis France a Fifteenth Century Chateau near the city of Tours in the Loire Valley of France to become the Pro Musicis International Center. Award winners: Cynthia Phelps, viola; Emanuele Segre, guitar.
1988 Mayor Edward Koch proclaims June 13th “Pro Musicis Day” in New York City in recognition of “the important performance opportunities Pro Musicis offers gifted young artists and the unique listening experience for audience that might otherwise not hear great music.”
1989 CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt features Pro Musicis. Award winners: Maria Bachmann, violin; Carolyn Sebron, mezzo-soprano
1990 John Haag becomes Executive Director of Pro Musicis USA.
1990 Pro Musicis Italia inaugurates a concert series at the Villa Medici in Rome. Award winner: Natalie Dessay, soprano.
1991 Award winner: Lauren Wagner, soprano.
1992 WNYC TV airs “The Spirit of Music,” a film on Pro Musicis narrated by Byron Janis and produced by Emmy Award winner Peter Rosen. Award winners: Rachel Franklin, piano; Gerard Reuter, oboe; Emma Tahmiziàn, piano.
1993 Award winners: Mariko Anraku, harp; Karol Bennett, soprano; Erick Freulon, baritone; Susan Nigro, contrabassoon.
1994 Harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff inaugurates Pro Musicis concerts in Hong Kong with a performance at David Tang’s China Club. Award winners: Eva-Maria Alexandre, piano; Richard Glazier, piano; Jane Peters, violin; Iván Rijos, guitar.
1994 Soprano Elizabeth Parcells performs the 1,000th Pro Musicis concert at the Opera Comique in Paris.
1995 The 30th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall features pianist Byron Janis and ensembles of Pro Musicis artists. Award winners: Katerina Englichova, harp; Clara Novakova, flute; Gundula Schneider, mezzo-soprano.
1995 John Schmitz succeeds Robert de Rothschild as Board Chair and serves until 2002.
1996 A Gala in Boston honors Gunthur Schuller for his outstanding service to Pro Musicis as Chairman of the Music Committee. Award winners: Dana Ciocarlie, piano; Irina Muresanu, violin.
1998 Award Dinner at the University Club in New York City honors Jack Rudin for his public service to the City of New York. Award winners: Jian Bao, Chinese guanzi; Christian Gerhaher, baritone; Yazhi Guo, Chinese suona.
1999 Richard Knisely initiates performances by Pro Musicis artists on WGBH FM’s Classical Performances. Award winners: Joseph Lin, violin; J.Y. Song, piano.
2000 Award Dinner at the University Club in New York City honors Serge Bellanger for his contributions to French American relations and Ambassador William H. Luers for his distinguished career in Foreign Service.
2001 Father Merlet is promoted to the rank of Officer in the French Legion of Honor at a ceremony in the New York French Consulate. Award winners: Robert Gardner, baritone; Hongmei Yu, Chinese erhu; Jessica Li Zhou, harp; Helena Winkelman, violin.
2002 Cynthia Glacken succeeds John Schmitz as Board Chair. Gala at the French Consulate in New York honors Beverly Sills for her outstanding service to the arts. Award winners: Sonia Chan, piano; Luiz Mantovani, guitar; Eriko Sano, piano.
2003 Pro Musicis inaugurated a partnership with Augustana Arts in Denver, Colorado, co-presenting baritone Robert Gardner in recital and Richard Todd, horn soloist with the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra. Robert Dick, flute, performs the 1,500th Pro Musicis concert at Phoenix House, New York City.
2004 In October Pro Musicis collaborated with Snow Stringed Instruments to co-present sold out concerts of traditional Chinese music by world-class soloists from Beijing at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Harvard University’s Sanders Theater.
2005 The music committee chaired by Gunther Schuller selected four artists for the 2005 Pro Musicis International Award: Colleen Ka-Ling Lee, pianist from Hong Kong; Inna Faliks, pianist born in the Ukraine; FAN Wei, pipa player from Beijing; and Kazunori Seo, flutist from Japan. Under the patronage of Madame Claude Pompidou, the Lions Club and ING Bank sponsored a gala at the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera to benefit Pro Musicis France.
2006 The Pro Musicis International Award is conferred on baritone Tyler Duncan in Paris and on harpsichordist Morwaread Farbood and violinist Yura Lee in New York. Award Dinner at the French Consulate in New York honors Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel for a lifetime of public service and Byron Janis for his contribution to the world of music.
2007 Pro Musicis presents “A Celebration Concert” at the newly inaugurated TimesCenter featuring legendary pianist Byron Janis and six outstanding alumni. François Lafaye and Josée Caderas provide leadership for the newly organized and expanded Pro Musicis Assoication in France.
2008 Pro Musicis board members from both sides of the Atlantic meet in New York City in January and in Paris in June to strengthen collaboration and leverage resources. Four pianists were chosen for the 2008 International Award following auditions at Carnegie Hall: Tanya Gabrielian, Victor Goldberg, Maya Hartman, Claire Huangci.
2009 Violiist Erin Keefe and harpist Sivan Magen were chosen for the Pro Musicis International Award at auditions in New York City.
2010 Pro Musicis presented alumni in a Fiddle Fest and a Chopin Fest in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall.
2011 Rafael Aguire, Alexandria Le, and Andrew Staupe selected for 2011 Pro Musicis International Award
2012 Guitar Fest in Weill Hall featuring Rafael Aguire, Luiz Mantovania, Emanuele Segre
2012 Bonnie Barrett succeeded Cynthia Glacken as Board Chair.
2013 Michael Faust, Clara Novakova, Helena Winkelman, and Ilton Wjuniski performed at Father Merlet’s funeral in Paris on July 16.
2014 Sharon Robinson, Jaime Laredo, Carmit Zori and Andrew Staupe perform at the French Consulate in New York City in memory of Father Merlet. Gala at Yamaha Piano Salon to launch the 50th Anniversary Year.
2015 Events throughout the year in celebration of 50th Anniversary Year.

Violinist Francisco Fullana chosen for 2015 Pro Musicis International Award at auditions in NYC. Festival du 50ème Anniversarie de Pro Musicis 1965-2015, Collège des Bernardins, Paris.

2016 Award Gala at French Consulate inaugurating “Father Eugene Merlet Award for Community Service” ($4,000 grant each): Music for Food, founder Kim Kashkashian; Daniel’s Music, founders Daniel and Ken Trush; COSA Music Institute, founders Francisco Fullana and Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio.