January 17, 2017

Legacy of a Music Lover: William F. Gamble

When he was in his early sixties, Rochester’s William “Bill” F. Gamble told his half-sister Sonja Robson that he was leaving a bequest to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in his will.

“He was very excited about the prospect of having a legacy of some sort at the RPO-especially since he didn't have any children,” remembered Robson. “I think he felt a deep connection to the music he heard while going to the symphony.”
Sonja Robson and William "Bill" Gamble

Mr. Gamble’s love of music extended to other genres as well. He was a member of the Golden Link Folk Singing Society and the Hoot’n Holler’n Hotshots Band, and had a vast vinyl collection that included folk, rock, and classical albums. Music, however, was not his only passion.

The retired DuPont Chemical Corporation engineer was very active in the Genesee Valley and Eastern Divisions of the National Ski Patrol and the Hunt Hollow Ski Patrol in Naples, N.Y. He was also a respected photographer for regional foxhunting groups that included the Hopper Hills and Genesee Valley Hunts. He had his pilot’s license as well, and at one time owned a small airplane from which he would take aerial photos.

“My brother and I were very close,” added Robson. “I was orphaned when our father died, my mother having died two years earlier, and Bill took me under his wing many times during my teenage years.”

Perhaps it is that compassionate spirit that led him to arrange for the RPO bequest, which endowed the Principal Viola position for 15 years following his death last year at age 72.

Melissa Matson
Principal Viola Melissa Matson is the current William F. Gamble Chair. While the news of his bequest was entirely unexpected, and she had never met Mr. Gamble, she knew the perfect way to pay tribute. She was already scheduled to perform Mozart's Sinfonie Concertante for violin and viola with Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W.Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) on January 22nd's Sunday Matinee, Music of Mozart.

“What could be better? It's such an amazing piece, and is the only concerto Mozart wrote that features the viola," explained Matson. "The solo violin and solo viola are treated as equals, and in the orchestra, Mozart matches the usual two violin sections with two viola sections. This adds to the richness of the work. I especially enjoy the operatic slow movement, with its heartfelt harmonies and long, supple lines."

Gamble's half sister will travel to Rochester to attend the concert and a special post-concert dinner that will also honor Matson, who adds: "The concert is a wonderful tribute to someone who recognized the importance of classical music in the community, and who cared enough to make such a generous bequest."

If you go
Music of Mozart
Sunday, January 22 at 2 PM
Hochstein Performance Hall
Tickets are $27

This story was written by Sally Cohen, RPO Publicist