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About the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Fund

Jenny Bilfield, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Douglas Wheeler

In summer 2021, Washington Performing Arts established the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Fund to celebrate the Justice’s life, legacy, and love of music with an annual award and recital in her memory. The Washington Performing Arts Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Recital serves as a creative initiative connecting Justice Ginsburg’s love of music, the esteemed artists she championed and befriended, and the future of the vocal and instrumental arts in which she delighted.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a lover of music and a strong supporter of Washington Performing Arts. Our tripartite mission, which resonated with the Justice, is to bring some of the world’s greatest artists to D.C. audiences, to lift emerging artists, and to support arts education in D.C. public schools. For that reason, Justice Ginsburg regularly attended Washington Performing Arts’ s performances and events, including our annual gala.

Inaugural Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Fund Award and Recital

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Fund Award - Denyce Graves

On February 28, 2023, Washington Performing Arts presented American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves with its Inaugural Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award at COTTON—a powerful evening of poetry, music, and photography exploring the African American experience and the “soft, dangerous beauty of cotton.”

This recital—the first presented in memory of Justice Ginsburg—at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, was commissioned and produced by Lyric Fest in Philadelphia, featuring performances by Graves and baritone Justin Austin, a rising star who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2021/22 season, photography by John E. Dowell, and works composed by Damien Geter.

Save the Date
Second-annual RBG Memorial Fund Award and Recital
Fragments by Alisa Weilerstein
Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

Washington Performing Arts is thrilled to co-commission Fragments with renowned cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who is the recipient of our second-annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Award.

Lauded for her deep musical insight, technical brilliance, and creative authority, Washington Performing Arts friend and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Alisa Weilerstein returns with her innovative, theatrical new project Fragments. Weilerstein conceived of and has collaborated with 27 composers representing nine nationalities and varied musical styles to create a unique arc that intersperses movements of Bach cello suites with 10-minute fragments of newly commissioned works. Audiences will not know the order of the program until its conclusion, adding to the immersive experience. Each hour-long program at the Terrace Theater (4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) features a mix of Bach and these elegant new fragments, including a D.C.- and world-premiere performance.

With the goal of $500,000 to endow the fund permanently within reach, we invite you to join us for this performance and to support the RBG Fund to help us close the gap. Your gift will honor one of the most beloved, influential, and exemplary figures in recent American history in a manner that reflects her values and benefits our arts community.

Make Your Gift Today

Contributions to the RBG Fund can be made online, through regular mail (please include RBG Fund on the memo line), or by contacting Meiyu Tsung, Director of Individual Giving at 202-533-1880 or MTsung@WashingtonPerformingArts.org.

Give Now

Pledge Your Support

Please click below to access our Pledge Form (PDF). After filling out and signing the form, please return it to our office in one of these two ways:

Washington Performing Arts Advancement Office
1400 K Street, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005

Pledge Form (PDF)

Thank you!

Washington Performing Arts is grateful for the instrumental support from the following founding members of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Fund (as of June 6, 2023):

Anonymous (3)
Linda Fienberg and Jeffrey Bauman
Carole and Henry Berman
Paul Schiff Berman
Jenny Bilfield and Joel Phillip Friedman
Barbara Broidy
Mr.+ and Mrs. Calvin Cafritz
Henry Cao
Dr. and Mrs. Abe Cherrick
Robin Rowan Clarke
Chris Conte
Frank and Sunny Cook
Robert and Jamie Craft
Anthony DiResta and Terrance Mason
Michael Dockterman
David Ellen
Mr. and Mrs. William and Michele Farquhar
Marian and Milton Carr Ferguson
Anne and Burton Fishman
Norma Lee+ and Morton Funger+
Barbara Myers and Tom Gallagher
Barbara D. Gholz
Caroline and Mark Goldzweig
Jamie Gorelick and Richard Waldhorn
Susan R. and Sanford D. Greenberg
Hannah Grove-Dejarnett
Sarah Haft
Jo Ann Hearld
Betsy C. Hegg
Hermann and Janet Helgert
Harryette and Stanley Helsel
Beth and Stephen Hess
Ms. Michelle Hoffmann
Judy Honig and Stephen Robb
Judith Richards Hope, Family Partners Fund
Murray Horwitz and Lisa Miller
Antonia B. Ianniello and George Chuzi
Kari L. Jaksa
Kathryn and J. Stephen Jones, MD
Jodie Kelley and Scott Sinder
Michael J. Klarman
Ineke and Peter Kreeger/David Lloyd Kreeger Foundation
June and Jerry Libin
The Honorable Jan M. and Elizabeth Lodal
Lucinda Low and Daniel Magraw
Alfred Mamlet and Rochelle Bobroff
Jacqueline B. Mars
Dr. and Mrs. Robert Martin
Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather
Melanie Franco Nussdorf
Tom Kim and John Olson
W. Stephen and Diane E. Piper
Samantha Pollack
Elizabeth Racheva and Danail Rachev
Anne and Steven Reed
Gwen Renigar
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
James E. Rocap III
Elaine Rose
James J. Sandman and Elizabeth D. Mullin
Ami Scott
Peter Shields and Ace Werner
Kathleen Shurtleff
Miriam Steinberg-Egeth
Héctor J. Torres and Jay Haddock Ortiz
Nina Totenberg and David Reines
Rich and Kathleen Trautman
Meiyu Tsung and Curtis Chang
Mary Jo Veverka
Mark Wasserman
Christie-Anne and Jeffrey P. Weiss
Philip R. West and Barbara Yellen
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Wheeler
Jonathan and Ruby Zhu


 About the Award and Recital

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Award and Recital will be an ongoing celebration of the late Supreme Court Justice’s life, legacy, and passion for music. Washington Performing Arts will honor its friend, patron, and collaborator, Justice Ginsburg, by awarding a distinguished artist the opportunity to choose a musical talent deserving of wider recognition, to be presented in recital here in the nation’s capital.

The Award will go to an artist of stature (the Awardee) who exemplifies both the musical excellence Justice Ginsburg cherished and the principles to which she was dedicated—in the words of our Board Chair, Tom Gallagher, “her belief in the arts as a unifying force, a belief that’s echoed in the mission of Washington Performing Arts, and in the mantra of our founder, Patrick Hayes—‘Everybody in, nobody out.’”

The Recital is inspired by Justice Ginsburg herself, who reveled in presenting musicales at the Supreme Court, and who co-curated a vocal recital on our season in 2016 after being honored with the Washington Performing Arts Ambassador
of the Arts Award. Thus, the Recital will establish a continuous, creative lineage between Justice Ginsburg’s love of music, the recognized artists she championed and befriended, and the future of the vocal and instrumental arts in which she took such delight. The Awardee will serve as a co-curator with Washington Performing Arts, and select and present an emerging talent—the Featured Artist—in a recital in Washington, D.C. The Recital will be hosted by the Awardee, with any number of possible added features: an artist-to-artist conversation; an educational component, such as a masterclass, listening party, or in-school appearance; a new commission; a performance collaboration; or a combination of any of the above. To design and enable these or other creative endeavors, an artistic enhancement reserve will be made available to the Featured Artist, in addition to their performance fee, with an honorarium to the Awardee.

About the Relationship between Justice Ginsburg and Washington Performing Arts

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Washington Performing Arts shared the values of excellence, access to the arts for all, and the importance of art in the education of young people. Fittingly, each Recital will invite wide public participation, with special ticket programs and outreach to students. In addition to those attending the live event, a broader audience will have access to the Recitals through publicly available video recordings and even television and radio broadcasts, if possible.

For more on our long-running relationship with Justice Ginsburg, including a photo gallery and our memorial video, The Muse and the Musicale, visit our "Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg" page.

About the Fund

To support the Award, Recital, and their associated programs, Washington Performing Arts has established the RBG Fund. Lead gifts of more than $365,000, secured from Spring to Fall 2021, lay the foundation for the campaign. Washington Performing Arts’s RBG Fund is a living memorial to one of the most beloved, influential, and exemplary figures in recent American History.