Business Support of the Arts


Philharmonic Association Artistic Director Hugh Partridge was honored on January 16 during the 2018 State of the Arts and Culture in Wake County event sponsored by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Partridge received the 2018 Business Support of the Arts in the Arts Education category.

United Arts President, Eleanor Oakley, gave the following introduction:

For over 40 years, Hugh Partridge has demonstrated extraordinary support of the arts and influenced the musical life of North Carolina through his leadership as a performer, music educator, collaborator, and conductor.

Coming to North Carolina in 1976 to serve as Principal Violist with the North Carolina Symphony, Hugh brought his professional experience and love of working with young people to the Symphony’s already acclaimed educational program. Outside of his demanding performing schedule, and later teaching position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he voluntarily assisted in recruiting for the Wake County Public Schools strings programs, performed recitals in the community, provided thoughtful musical experiences at his sons’ schools, served on arts committees and boards, and graciously responded to young people’s requests for help in their musical endeavors.

A Cary resident, Hugh served on the first citizen cultural arts committee, helped raise funds to renovate Cary’s historic Page Walker Hotel by donating his services to organize and perform a benefit concert and has also performed pro bono at Lazy Daze and Spring Daze festivals.

Hugh was a founding Board Director of the Community Music of School of Raleigh; organized and taught free summer lessons for students who wanted to audition for Philharmonic Association orchestras; planned a weeklong summer camp during which he donated his time as the orchestra conductor; and functioned without payment as a substitute when the school lost a string teacher.

There is no greater example of Hugh’s willingness to help young musicians than his response to thirty-five students who approached him in 1988 to help them form an orchestra. The resulting Philharmonic Association (PA) would likely not exist today had Hugh not been willing to donate his time to begin and nurture it until it had some financial wherewithal. It began as an entirely volunteer, grassroots organization, and it wasn’t until after several years of fundraising efforts, including multiple benefit concerts in which Hugh donated his services, that the non-profit was able to provide a small stipend for his conducting time. His role as Artistic Director remains an unpaid Board position. He has continued for 30 years, giving of himself without regard to the level of remuneration, and is also the largest individual donor to the organization. Under his leadership, the PA has grown to sponsor three full orchestras, two string orchestras, four jazz ensembles and multiple chamber ensembles. This award-winning youth arts education program is perhaps his greatest accomplishment and legacy. Throughout his music career, Hugh has made a lasting difference in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of students of all abilities and backgrounds.

PA String Quartet Also Performed at Same Event January 16


The Philharmonic Association String Quartet (Samuel Zhu and Shania Khoo, violins; Esther Zhu, viola; and Stephen Chang, cello) were very effective in the premiere of an excerpt of R. Michael Daugherty’s The Story of Rapunzel or the Rampion Girl. This chamber work with narrator (expertly provided by William Kalland of Cary’s applause Youth Theatre) was commissioned by the Philharmonic Association in 2017.

Click here to hear the performance. 

(Reprinted with permission of the Philharmonic Association.)