A Proud History and an Exciting Future
Marguerite Maxwell envisioned a unique method of providing musical training for youngsters in the community. The Westport School of Music opened in 1938 on Hillspoint Road with two teachers and approximately 40 students. When Mrs. Maxwell purchased the present property on Woods Grove in 1946, there were nine faculty and over 100 students. Mrs. Maxwell’s special rapport with children, her organizational skills and administrative ability had all combined to establish the School as an important cultural and educational asset in the community.
Concert pianist Richard Gregor joined the faculty as Artist-Teacher in 1958, and quickly became involved in and committed to the School. His concept of a Scholarship Fund to assist families with tuition led to the first Scholarship Fund Benefit Concert in the spring of 1960. Since that time, more than 500 students have been granted over $140, 000 in aid. Richard Gregor became Associate Director in 1960, and was named Director in 1972 following Mrs. Maxwell’s death. As teacher, administrator, and performer, he left his mark on the School.
Martha Hisey joined the piano faculty in 1971, and was named Associate Director in 1974. Her years of experience on the staff of the Interlochen Arts Academy and National Music Camp in Michigan made her an ideal addition to the School’s faculty. Mrs. Hisey assumed responsibility for the Junior School, for all recitals held each year, and conceived and organized special events – the Bach 300th Birthday Concert and the first Student Chamber Music Festival. Director since February, 1987, following the death of Richard Gregor, Martha Hisey is a creative administrator who is deeply committed to music education. The School, under her leadership, continues the tradition of excellence. This excellence is confirmed by the school's full membership in The National Guild for Community Arts Education.
In recent years, a new addition to the School's curriculum is MusicWorks! - Therapy Classes for those with special needs. The MusicWorks! program was begun in 1995 with grants from Newman's Own, Near and Far Aid Organization, the Fairfield County Foundation, and donations from parents and friends of the school.
With eighteen outstanding, performing faculty members, an enrollment of over 200, and an active Board of Trustees dedicated to serving the School, we continue to serve students from all parts of Fairfield County, Connecticut.