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DECONSTRUCTED: Opera backer

PERE Magazine September 2009: JE Robert’s new top man is a bringer of singers

Don’t get Barden Gale started about the opera.

A lifelong fan, the new CEO of JE Roberts is deeply involved in a charity that provides grants to help young opera singers build their careers.

The charity, called The Shoshana Foundation, was established in 1986 after the death of of Richard Gold, an administrator of the New York City Opera who specified in his will that he wished to assist young singers.

Gold was Gale’s cousin. Among the earliest recipients of a career grant was Renee Fleming, now among the most visible opera stars in the world. Over the following decades, Gale and his wife have taken that idea and developed operatic outreach programmes for schools in New York and Paris.

PERE’s Zoe Hughes interviews Gale about his new role at JE Robert in this month's issue. Gale’s knack for eliciting charitable giving was in full effect – during the session he convinced Zoe to make a donation to the teachers’ online charity Donorschoose.org, where donors can choose which classroom project they want to fund. She ponied up for a laptop computer to help a New York City journalism technology class. No doubt singing, writing and real estate investing have bright futures thanks to Gale.