Our History - Our History

Our History

In 1889 - the year North Dakota joined the union, Andrew Carnegie was revolutionizing the steel industry, and Gustav Mahler's First Symphony premiered in Budapest -- a handful of prominent women in Pittsburgh decided to form a musical club. These female musicians, whose social status prevented them from doing anything professionally, began to organize private recitals of classical music. Originally calling their group Tuesday Afternoon Musicale, founders included Julia Morgan Harding, Kate Cassatt McKnight, Eleanor Gillespie Magee, and Anne S. Phillips. Their performances were initially held in the rooms of the Mozart Club in the Hostetter Building on Fourth Avenue, by permission of Henry Clay Frick, a trustee of the Mozart Club. After a year, the meetings and performances were moved to the music room of Mrs. Magee's home, on the present site of Magee-Womens Hospital.

In 1902, non-performing music lovers were admitted as associate members, resulting in larger audiences and more formal presentations. Performances moved to bigger locales such as The Schenley Hotel and Allegheny County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. The club's name had since become Tuesday Musical Club (TMC), and in 1921 they incorporated as a non-profit, small arts organization.

By 1927 TMC had grown to 1200 members, large enough that they initiated a plan to build a performance hall for their recitals. They wanted the hall to be dedicated to Pittsburgh's most beloved composer, Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864). TMC worked together with Chancellor John G. Bowman of the University of Pittsburgh, and Josiah K. Lilly, industrialist of Indianapolis, to achieve their mission. The result of their efforts was the completion of the Stephen C. Foster Memorial on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in 1937. The building has since served as the headquarters of Tuesday Musical Club and is the repository of Lilly's exquisite collection of Stephen C. Foster artifacts. In 1996, the Stephen C. Foster Memorial also became home of the Center for American Music, part of the University of Pittsburgh Library System established to expand and document knowledge of American music and the role it plays here and abroad.

Tuesday Musical Club's influence on Pittsburgh's cultural scene didn't stop there. TMC members are credited with forming the Pittsburgh Opera Society in 1939, as well as the Pittsburgh Concert Society, and The Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh's Tuesday Musical Club broadened its membership in 1976 when they began admitting men. The current membership is a mix of over 230 men and women who are interested in serving the community of musicians and music lovers of southwestern Pennsylvania. The Club is organized into Divisions: String Ensemble, Chamber Music, Piano, Vocal, Choral, Woodwind, and Composers. Many club activities take place during monthly divisional meetings in member's homes or in churches, and include musical performances as well as coaching sessions with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians and university faculty.