Dec. 22, 2006

Cornell Department of Music receives its largest gift ever from the estate of alumnus Sidney T. Cox

The Cornell Department of Music has received its largest gift ever, $6.5 million, from the estate of alumnus Sidney T. Cox '47, M.A. '48 (1922-2005). This bequest, the culmination of a lifetime of giving to the department, will support three areas within the department: the performing ensembles; concerts and lectures; and graduate education in musicology, composition and performance practice.

"We are thrilled to be the recipient of this generous gift," said Rebecca Harris-Warrick, chair of the Department of Music. "Throughout his life, Sidney was a true friend to the department and to the university. His gifts helped make the Department of Music what it is today, and we are proud to continue to honor his memory."

Cox's support of the department was steadfast. He was an ardent supporter of student composition and performance at Cornell and a major donor to the renovation of Lincoln Hall, home of the music department. In recognition of his generosity, the library in Lincoln Hall was named the Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance when it was dedicated in 2000. The Cox Library is one of 20 units of Cornell Library and is considered one of the finest music libraries in North America. "Sid was not the kind of person who was in philanthropy for credit -- he did it all quietly," said Steven Stucky, the Given Foundation Professor of Music at Cornell and 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. "From the small to the large, on a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year basis, his dedicated support has shaped what the department has become."

Cox earned degrees in English and music composition at Cornell. His musical works have been performed by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and many other groups. He was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and was a director of the Syracuse Symphony for several years. He was also an advisory board member of the American Institute for Verdi Studies and a steering committee member of the Cornell Friends of Music.

Cornell also recently acquired Cox's extensive Verdi collection, including original manuscripts, scores and recordings, which Cox bequeathed to Cornell upon his death in 2005. The collection arrived this past summer and is now housed in the Cox Library.