High Level Patronage

Houston Symphony dedicates opening night to $5 million benefactor after receiving largest personal gift in a decade

Houston Symphony dedicates opening night to $5 million benefactor

9031 Margaret Williams wearing Ripetto Best Houston Grand Opera HGO gala gowns April 2015
Margaret Alkek Williams commits $5 million to Houston Shymphony. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
15 Margaret Alkek Williams and Mark Hanson at the Houston Symphony Ball kickoff party November 2013
Margaret Alkek Williams and Houston Symphony CEO Mark Hanson. Photo by © Jenny Antill
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6840_Margaret Alkek Williams; Jim Daniel
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the Houston Symphony Ball. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
14 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the Houston Ballet Ball February 2015
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the Houston Ballet Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 Margaret Alkek Williams wearing Ripetta at the MFAH Grand Gala October 2014 GOWNS
Margaret Williams at the Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9031 Margaret Williams wearing Ripetto Best Houston Grand Opera HGO gala gowns April 2015
15 Margaret Alkek Williams and Mark Hanson at the Houston Symphony Ball kickoff party November 2013
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6840_Margaret Alkek Williams; Jim Daniel
14 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the Houston Ballet Ball February 2015
11 Margaret Alkek Williams wearing Ripetta at the MFAH Grand Gala October 2014 GOWNS

The timing could not have been more perfect for Margaret Alkek Williams to make a $5 million commitment to the Houston Symphony. The philanthropist, whose beauty and grace belie her age, turns 80 in September when the symphony's opening night concert will be performed in her honor.

Symphony board chairman Jesse Tutor made the announcement on the stage at Jones Hall during a special gathering of symphony members and patrons. In addition to endowing the newly-established  Margaret Alkek Williams Executive Director/CEO Chair, the funds will support symphony operations and its sustainability fund.

Tutor noted that this is the largest single contribution that the symphony has received from an individual since 2006.

 “As a governing director of the Houston Symphony," Williams said, "I am proud to provide this $5 million commitment at this pivotal time in the orchestra’s history as they embark on the implementation of a 10-year strategic plan that will very much ensure the symphony thrives as Houston’s symphony well into its second century.” 

Williams is noted for her philanthropy across the city's cultural arts landscape and in the medical center. She is a regular at the city's prominent black-tie galas where she supports various organizations with major table purchases in addition to generous contributions.

Mark Hanson, who will be the first to hold the endowed executive director/CEO chair, commented, “For more than a quarter of a century, Margaret has been an extraordinary advocate for the Houston Symphony . . .  Through her philanthropy, she has allowed the organization to dream, to pursue new ideas and to retain and recruit the finest musicians and conductors to Houston."

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