Obituary: Schuyler Chapin, 86

Posted on: March 9, 2009

In Monday’s (3/8) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin reports, “Schuyler Chapin, the patrician New Yorker and white-shoe impresario who glided through society and a string of jobs in the arts—including general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, cultural affairs commissioner of New York City and dean of the school of the arts at Columbia University—died on Saturday. He was 86. … The polished, silver-haired Mr. Chapin had prominent public roles and spoke out forcefully in defense of culture but was also a consummate behind-the-scenes man. He called himself a booster, a hero-worshiper of great creators, and a hopeless composer. … He went to work at Columbia Artists Management in 1953, serving as tour manager for Jascha Heifetz (he called it being a ‘glorified valet’) and booking director for the Midwest.” This was followed by significant posts at Columbia Records, Lincoln Center, and Amberson Productions, Leonard Bernstein’s production company. “At the Met, relying on the conductors James Levine and Rafael Kubelik for artistic direction, he helped increase box-office income and subscription renewals and improved morale.” Chapin let the Met in 1975 and went on to positions at Columbia and for the City of New York, where he was cultural affairs commissioner from 1994 to 2001. Chapin a part of the American Symphony Orchestra League family for many years and served as board chairman from 1982-85.
Posted March 9, 2009