Marlboro Music completes purchase of Potash Hill

Task force to explore off-season uses of former Marlboro College campus

MARLBORO — Marlboro Music, the internationally acclaimed chamber music study center and festival, announced Tuesday that it has closed on its purchase of the Potash Hill campus, the former home of Marlboro College.

The organization finalized an agreement of sale with Democracy Builders Fund and Type 1 Civilization. The purchase ensures that the campus will remain intact, preserved, and the home campus for Marlboro Music for generations to come.

“Acquiring the Potash Hill campus marks a new chapter for Marlboro Music,” Christopher Serkin, Marlboro Music's president and board chair said in a news release. “While it will create some important challenges, the purchase brings a vital measure of stability to our organization, to the surrounding community, and to the many patrons and constituents who feel as protective as we do about this special place.”

Potash Hill has been the home of Marlboro Music since it was founded in 1951 as a center for the advanced study of music.

“This purchase ensures that our program will continue supporting the development of musical leaders here for generations to come,” Serkin said.

The Potash Hill campus consists of 59 buildings on 563 acres, extending from the southern part of Marlboro into Halifax.

Closing on the sale of the campus followed authorization and approval by the Vermont Attorney General's office.

“We thank Alize-Jazel Smith, chair of Democracy Builders, and Adrian Stein, president of Type 1 Civilization, for their cooperation and help throughout this process,” said Philip Maneval, manager of Marlboro Music.

Maneval added that Marlboro Music is grateful “for the enthusiastic reaction to our purchase by so many patrons, friends in the region, and former members of the Marlboro College community.”

“The property holds cherished memories for those of us who have lived, learned, and enjoyed great music there for decades, and this purchase has enormous potential for enhancing our artistic community, our mission, and our values moving forward,” he continued.

New entity to manage campus

This summer, Marlboro Music formed a subsidiary nonprofit organization, Potash Hill, Inc., that will hold title to the campus. Potash Hill will manage and oversee the campus.

“The campus will continue to be used for our intensive study program and festival season each summer,” said Serkin.

This summer, the Marlboro Music board authorized the formation of a 15-member task force, consisting of musicians, trustees, and staff members, to oversee an in-depth feasibility and strategic planning process to help determine the future use of the property from September through May each year.

“Once its work begins later this fall, the task force will be seeking input from many interested parties as we determine the best off-season use of the campus in the years ahead and as we build support to help cover the costs of conserving this beautiful property and addressing its ongoing maintenance and capital needs,” Serkin said.

Open house on Oct. 23

On Saturday, Oct. 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Marlboro Music will host an open house on campus for local residents. Friends and neighbors are invited to attend this event, which will include a tour of the new Jerome and Celia Bertin Reich building on campus.

The Reich building, designed by Minneapolis-based HGA architects, opened in June. It contains three spacious music rehearsal studios, a library for Marlboro's extensive collection of some 8,500 chamber music scores, administrative offices, and social spaces.

Marlboro trustees and staff will be on hand to welcome friends and neighbors, and to speak with them about the process for determining future uses of the campus.

Marlboro Music was founded in 1951 by pianist Rudolf Serkin, violinist Adolf Busch, cellist Hermann Busch, flutist Marcel Moyse, and Blanche and Louis Moyse.

For seven weeks each summer, Marlboro forms a closely-knit community of some 65 exceptional young professional musicians and 25 master artists from across the U.S. and around the world, along with staff members, spouses, and children.

There are no classes or private lessons. Instead, the senior and younger artists form more than 60 chamber music ensembles each week, and work together intensively, with virtually unlimited rehearsal time and ideal study conditions.

“Five weekends of public performances emanate from this program, providing an opportunity for the most successful of the groups to share their interpretations,” the news release said.

“While the concerts feature only about a quarter of the more than 240 ensembles that rehearse each summer, they represent the exceptionally high standards and spirit of collegiality and artistic discovery that characterize all of the groups.”

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