and His Instruments
“We couldn’t be more honored to be the Sigal family’s choice to serve as stewards of Marlowe’s amazing legacy. Over the next decades we will have ample opportunity to tell stories with instruments that have been in private hands for a long time. We look forward to sharing this phenomenal collection with the public.”
Artistic Director and Chief Curator, who as a fellow collector and friend of Marlowe’s, originally initiated the museum’s conversations with the Sigal family.
Watch our video about the life of Marlowe.
In the spring of 2020, the Carolina Music Museum changed its name to the Sigal Music Museum to honor and recognize the generous and extraordinary gift by the family of the late Marlowe A. Sigal. We are the proud recipients of Sigal’s esteemed private collection of antique musical instruments, as well as a generous endowment from the family to provide ongoing operational support to help preserve and exhibit them.
A private collector, Marlowe A. Sigal of Newton, Massachusetts, was internationally regarded as an expert on the study, preservation, and restoration of antique musical instruments. His 2015 book “Four Centuries of Musical Instruments,” (paid link) showcased most of his world-class private collection, which consisted of almost 700 instruments including period keyboards, flutes and whistles, woodwinds, strings, percussion, and world instruments spanning over 400 years.
Marlowe was also the Founder and President of Solutek Corporation, in Roxbury, MA for over 50 years. Along with being a successful businessman, he served on the boards of several organizations devoted to the preservation of musical instruments and the performance of classical music. Harvard-educated, Marlowe played saxophone in the Harvard Marching Band, and marched every year in at least one game, for a record 66 years. He performed and participated in the musical community, up until the time of his death.
When he died in May of 2018, Marlowe had not yet made final arrangements for his collection, so his family began the search for an organization that could take it in its entirety. While other museums were interested in accepting certain pieces, the Carolina Music Museum was in the unique position to accept the entire collection and change our name to honor Sigal. Senior Curator Alexandra Cade explains: “Actually, our youth as a museum really worked to our advantage. While having a great collection in place already, it wasn’t so large that the museum couldn’t consider adding Sigal’s instruments.”
Everyone involved at the Sigal Music Museum considers the gift of the Sigal Collection as a tremendous privilege that also elevates the museum’s exhibits to a new level of national and international prominence.