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Celebrate Interlochen founder Joe Maddy's 131st birthday on October 14

Interlochen's founder Joe Maddy in 1953
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Joe Maddy listens to recordings at Interlochen Public Radio

Interlochen Center for the Arts founder Dr. Joseph Maddy was born October 14, 1891.

Celebrate his 131st birthday all day on Classical IPR with recordings from Interlochen's archives that feature Maddy conducting Camp and Academy student ensembles.

We'll also share memories of Dr. Maddy from IPR listeners throughout the day.

Scroll down for more archival recordings and memories of Joe Maddy.

Ken Fischer, Interlochen alumnus and Interlochen Center for the Arts trustee emeritus:

"The trip to Washington 60 years ago to play for President Kennedy, under the baton of Dr. Maddy, was so special, not just for us kids but especially for Dr. Maddy. It was the 35th year of the National Music Camp, and he was one month away from launching the new Academy. And here he was at The White House at the invitation of the President, meeting Kennedy, hearing Kennedy speak about the importance of the arts in America and praising the institution Maddy founded and the young people attending it."

LISTEN: Joe Maddy promotes the forthcoming opening of Interlochen Arts Academy
Date unknown, likely 1961 or early 1962

Evy Kaplan Fischlowitz Sussman, Interlochen alumna and former member of Interlochen Public Radio's Community Advisory Council

"I was a JG '53 and IG '54 when we were invited to the Maddy cottage for “tea.” Dr. Maddy and Mrs. Maddy, with their camp uniform and red sweaters, welcomed us to their home and the camp. Later I learned more about the beginnings of [the National Music Camp], and all the work that preceded its opening. Interlochen has been an important part of my life ever since."

Christine Kyprianides Potter, Interlochen alumna, professional cellist and Fulbright specialist

"During the summer Camp, the National High School Symphony Orchestra (later the WYSO) would play their weekly radio broadcast on Sunday afternoon. Applause was strictly forbidden, even at the end of the concert. On one memorable Sunday, we were playing Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, the Pathetique, which ends with a slow tragic movement in lieu of the usual quick finale. Dr. Maddy was conducting from memory, without a score. We played the symphony's triumphant third movement, after which Dr. Maddy stepped down from the podium, and proudly looked at the audience. The concertmaster finally tapped him on the back with her bow, and whispered, 'Dr. Maddy--the LAST movement!!' He jumped back on the podium and we finished the symphony. Afterward, we all had a good laugh, including Dr. Maddy."

Joe Maddy conducts the National High School Band in John Philip Sousa's "The Northern Pines" march
This 1937 recording is one of the earliest surviving performances of Dr. Maddy conducting at Interlochen

T.P. Giddings and Joe Maddy at the Interlochen Bowl during the first National Music Camp summer, 1928
T.P. Giddings and Joe Maddy at the Interlochen Bowl during the first National Music Camp summer, 1928

Under Joe Maddy's leadership, the National Music Camp (the precursor to Interlochen Arts Camp) grew from welcoming 115 students from across the country in 1928 to more than 1,000 young artists from around the world in 1966, with its flagship orchestra performing at such venues as the White House and Carnegie Hall.

Among his many accomplishments, Maddy began broadcasting Interlochen concerts on national radio networks in the 1930s and opened Interlochen Arts Academy in 1962.

He is widely credited with making music a regular part of the American school curriculum and fostering the growth of school orchestras.

Click here to learn more about Maddy's role in the history of Interlochen Center for the Arts.