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Donald Kahn was a Godsend for Salzburg

11 AUG 2013

published in: General

Donald Kahn (Photo: Wild & Team)
Donald Kahn, one of the most important patrons of Salzburg’s cultural life and especially of the Salzburg Festival, passed away yesterday, Saturday, in Salzburg, at the age of 88. “Salzburg remembers Donald Kahn with respect and gratitude; he was one of those people who have made an enormous contribution to Salzburg, of his own free will, out of love for the arts and culture, and for the City and State of Salzburg. People like Donald Kahn are important in order to offer the arts the optimal framework and conditions. Donald Kahn was a godsend for Salzburg. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his relatives in this painful hour,” Landeshauptmann Dr. Wilfried Haslauer commemorated the deceased today, Sunday, August 11.

Kahn had been a resident of Salzburg since 1985 and became an Austrian citizen in 2001. He was widely known for his support for the cultural and scientific life of Salzburg and its development. The name Donald Kahn will be forever linked, among others, with the Patrons’ Lounge at the Großes Festspielhaus, the construction of the Haus für Mozart, the adaptation of the University’s Main Auditorium, and his contributions to the renovation of the Cathedral, the Jewish Cemetery as well as the organ in the Mülln church. As a friend and patron of the arts and of artists, he also supported the work and projects of the Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic, the Camerata Salzburg, the Salzburg Puppet Theatre, the International Mozarteum Foundation, the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum and the Museum der Moderne Rupertinum. 

Donald Kahn was born in 1925 in New York, studied at Columbia University in New York and made his career in publishing and in the software and computer business. In 1961 he married his wife Jeanne. He was a co-founder of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and a sponsor of the Royal Academy of Arts of London, the British Museum, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre London and the Cobbe Collection of Historic Instruments, among others. Since 1981 he visited Salzburg regularly; in 1985 he made the city his main residence. In 1997 he was awarded the Golden Medal of Honour of the State of Salzburg. In 2002 Kahn became an honorary senator of the University of Salzburg, and in 2004 an honorary citizen of the City of Salzburg. In 2003 he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class.