Converse College has lost one of its greatest champions, Carlos DuPré Moseley, who died Monday, Oct. 1 at age 98. Moseley was instrumental in founding the Friends of the School of Music Chamber Music Series in 1983 to bring internationally renowned musicians to Converse. Moseley’s contacts and knowledge of the music business were key resources—especially in the early years—that helped not only attract top performers such as Yo Yo Ma, Charles Wadsworth, and Marilyn Horne to Converse, but also arranged for fees that made such caliber of artists affordable for the college.
“He brought his love and joy in music to help grow Spartanburg’s and Converse College’s love of music,” said Converse College President Betsy Fleming. “He will be greatly missed by the Converse community and will remain one of the most revered innovators in the history of our Petrie School of Music. The Carlos Moseley legacy will live on through our tradition of bringing the world’s great musicians to perform at Converse.” Miles Hoffman, artistic director of the Moseley Chamber Music Series and associate professor of viola at Converse, made certain that Moseley remained a part of Converse College even after he grew unable to attend concerts on campus. “We would bring students over to his house to play and sing for him, and he loved it. He would come into the living room and listen to us. In the past few years, he stayed in his bedroom,” Hoffman said.
Moseley enjoyed a celebrated 30-year career as managing director, president and chairman of the board of the New York Philharmonic. Among his many accomplishments was moving the Philharmonic from Carnegie Hall to the new Lincoln Center in 1962, and then overseeing years of redesign and reconstruction of its home there, Avery Fisher Hall. He also initiated New York City’s free Concerts in the Park series in 1965, which drew three million people over the course of its first decade. The New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera presented the series at the Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion from 1990-2004. Moseley was named an Honorary Member of The Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc. in 2001.
“Carlos was such a gentle and gracious man that it is easy to forget that he was a giant in the field,” said Hoffman. “He had working friendships with the greatest musical figures of the second half of the 20th century. All you have to do is go to the Petrie School of Music lobby and see photos of Carlos with everybody. He was terribly important in the field of classical music. He was also extremely generous to Converse financially and with his advice and wisdom.” After serving on the Converse College Board of Trustees from 1981 – 1995, Moseley became a Life Trustee. He helped secure support for Converse from numerous foundations, and his personal gifts have impacted the Converse Annual Fund, Mickel Library, Friends of the Petrie School of Music, and the Alia Lawson Pre-College Series.
In 1970, Converse awarded Moseley an honorary doctorate at the formal dedication ceremony for Blackman Music Building, at which he served as the keynote speaker. He reflected during his remarks that Converse introduced him to the world of music and instilled in him a passion for music. He took piano lessons at Converse as a child, and for several years sang in the children’s chorus at Converse’s annual music festivals. It was at Converse, he said, where he heard his first symphony orchestra, his first Verdi Requiem, and his first organ tocatta.
In 2004, Converse presented him with the Dexter Edgar Converse Award, the college’s highest honor, and renamed the Friends of the Petrie School of Music Chamber Music Series in his honor. The series celebrates its 30th anniversary season this year. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Converse College Petrie School of Music, Wofford College Department of Music, the Episcopal Church of the Advent, or the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York. A memorial service will be held at 4:00 PM on Monday, October 8, 2012, at the Episcopal Church of the Advent. A private burial will be held at Oakwood Cemetery.
Read coverage of the life and passing of Carlos Moseley in the New York Times .