In Monday’s (1/19) New York Times, Margalit Fox reports that Countess Yoko Nagae Ceschina died in Rome on January 10. “One of the world’s foremost patrons of classical music, if also one of the least publicly known … she acted as angel to some of the finest artists and institutions in the field, including the New York Philharmonic, for which she helped sponsor both a trailblazing trip to North Korea in 2008 and the endowed chair of Alan Gilbert, its current music director…. Countess Ceschina was also a benefactor of Carnegie Hall; the Israel Philharmonic; the International Harp Contest in Israel (she had placed sixth in the contest in 1965); the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America; the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, for which she helped erect a new concert hall; and many other institutions. Her death was confirmed by the conductor Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky’s artistic and general director….Yoko Nagae was born in the Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, on April 5, 1932…. In 1960, she won a scholarship for advanced harp study in Venice. At a cafe there, she met Count Renzo Ceschina, an industrialist some 25 years her senior.” They were married in 1977; Renzo Ceschina died in 1982.

Posted January 20, 2015