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THE SCOOP | Toronto Symphony Announces Historic $10-Million Dollar Gift

By Michael Vincent on October 11, 2019

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has received a $10-million dollar donation from the Beck family, the largest single gift in the history of the orchestra.

Tom and Mary Beck, TSO
Tom and Mary Beck. (Photo courtesy of the Beck family).

In a surprise announcement from the stage at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto last night, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) CEO Matthew Loden, unveiled a historic moment for the orchestra.

The TSO has received a gift of $10 million from the estate of TSO patrons Tom and Mary Beck.

“My profound thanks to the Beck family on behalf of the entire TSO community. The gift from the Estate of H. Thomas and Mary Beck is the culmination of a lifetime of generosity, and represents an incredible legacy for all of us at the TSO to steward—we are deeply grateful,” said Loden.

The donation brings the Beck family’s lifetime giving to the TSO to over $20 million.

In accordance with the wishes of the family, the gift has been directed toward the support of key artistic initiatives over the coming years, including expanding the TSO chamber music, neurodiverse or autism spectrum, and musician-led programming. The funds will also be used to reduce debt, and increase the Toronto Symphony Foundation endowment.

The Beck family has had a long relationship with the TSO, which started after they immigrated to Canada 60 years ago.

Both Hungarian Jews, the Beck family was displaced by the war. Tom had fled Hungary for London in 1939, where he would attend concerts at Royal Albert Hall. Relocating to Toronto in 1950, Tom later met his wife, Mary Manoville who immigrated to Canada in 1952 from Vienna. Both lovers of classical music, they began attending the TSO at Massey Hall, and gradually adopted the orchestra as an important part of their lives.

While raising three children, Tom grew his small business into a multi-national electrical manufacturing company, now known as NOMA. The company has become a leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor holiday lighting worldwide.

Tom, who died in 2016, sat on the TSO Board of Directors for 22 years and served as Chair in the early 1980s. Mary, who passed away last year, continued her support and maintained close relationships with the orchestra. Their dedication to the TSO was passed to their children Anthony, Liddy, and Cathy, who has sat as the Chair of the TSO board since 2016.

“Tom and Mary Beck were the kind of friends and supporters that every arts organization dreams of,” says Sir Andrew Davis, the TSO’s Interim Artistic Director. “They loved the music of the Toronto Symphony passionately and believed that what it gave and continues to give to Toronto and the world is no mere luxury but rather a vital part of the fabric of life.”

[Update: Oct. 16, 2019. A previous version incorrectly stated Tom Beck’s death as 2015, and the exact date of Cathy Beck’s appointment as TSO Board Chair.]

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
Follow me
Michael Vincent
Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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