Ways to Support

Garfield Award

Garfield Award Nyys

NYYS Garfield Award

The Johanna and Leslie Garfield Award for Arts Philanthropy

The Johanna and Leslie Garfield Award for Arts Philanthropy was established in 2015 to recognize individuals who have provided leading support to arts organizations in New York and beyond. The award is named for the Garfields, who hail from the NYYS founding family and both of whom served on its Emeritus Board.

Jo Garfield was born into a family of music makers and music lovers. Her mother Clae, a founder of the NYYS, sang and played the piano. Her father Herbert was an excellent self-taught violinist whose legacy to the orchestra is the underwriting of the string chairs. All her father’s family and their children played instruments; so many, in fact, that at one time there was a family orchestra. She and her brother Frank began piano lessons early and developed a deep love of music. Some of Jo’s fondest childhood memories were of sitting in the family box at Carnegie Hall, where in 1963 she first heard the NYYS play. Her other musical interests included the New York Philharmonic, the Tanglewood Festival, Broadway musicals, and collecting and playing old popular sheet music. Jo was a writer who’s had numerous essays and articles published in The New York Times, Newsday, McCall’s, the Paris Review, and many others. She was the author of two books, a member of PEN, and Co-chair of the National Arts Club Literary Committee.

Leslie developed his passion for music in public school, where a part of the curriculum was listening to classical music. He and Jo met at the University of Wisconsin, and he was with her at that memorable 1963 NYYS concert. Both were willingly recruited for the board by Clae. Les became the President for many years, and then Chairman. He was instrumental (no pun intended) in raising a lot of money for the orchestra, and enthusiastically supported all their programs.

In his non-NYYS life, Les was the founder of Leslie J. Garfield and Company, a real estate firm now run by his son Jed. With Jo, Les was an avid collector of 20th- and 21st-century prints, which have been exhibited in major museums throughout the United States. He was on the boards of the MFA in Boston and the Chazen Museum in Madison, and was a longtime member of the Print Acquisitions Committee at MoMA. He was Co-chairman of the International Print Center of New York. The couple lived in New York City and have three grown children: Clare, Jed (Karen), and Cory; and two grandchildren, Clay and Charlie.

Jo passed away on August 5, 2021 at the age of 90 and Les passed away on December 16, 2022 at the age of 90.

Year Award Recipients Award Presenters
2021Benson Chapman, The McCutchen FoundationStephen Chapman
2019Melissa EisenstatSarah Lee
2018Rima Vargas-VetterTiffany Rea-Fisher
2017Dani BedoniSusan Rose
2016Marica VilcekRobert L. Poster
2015Roy NiederhofferDavid Bernard

NYYS Partners

Our Partner Organizations

Ways to Support

Donate today and help support our students continue their journey and become a part of our community of musicians and change the landscape of what the musical world look like today.


Unparalleled Performances

Experience all the hard work, practice and rehearsals that our students take on and show up to see them perform at one of our many concerts throughout the season.

Get Tickets

Enroll Today

Take the plunge and give yourself an opportunity to become a part of our amazing community of musicians, songwriters, composers and conductors.

Enroll Today