The Gustav Mahler Society of New York


The Gustav Mahler Society of New York (GMSNY), originally The New York Mahlerites, was formed in the mid-1970s by Jack Diether (noted musicologist and Mahler scholar) and Nancy Karlins-Thoman, and consisted of a group of Mahler enthusiasts who frequently gathered together after a concert of Mahler’s music to discuss the performance.

Jack Diether was the first president and served until his death in 1987; he was succeeded by Gerald S. Fox, who retired in 2009.

Lewis M. Smoley, the author of several books and articles about Mahler’s music, is the current president.

GMSNY has presented concerts of Mahler’s songs, piano transcriptions of his works and, most recently, in 2018, the rarely performed original piano version of Das Lied von der Erde.

Noted Mahler performers and scholars have appeared at programs presented by the Society, such as Henry-Louis de La Grange, Donald Mitchell, Stephen Hefling, Thomas Hampson, Riccardo Chailly, Leon Botstein, Jerry Bruck, Ted Reilly, William Carragan, Norman Lebrecht, Thomas Sanderling, Benjamin Zander, Andrew Litton, Harold Farberman, Stuart Feder, Susan Filler, Gilbert Kaplan, Sybille Werner, Lewis M. Smoley, and Marilyn McCoy, among others.

GMSNY has presented the New York premieres of the highly praised Mahler films by Jason Starr. The Society also commissioned a play, entitled “Love, Genius and a Walk,” by noted author Gay Walley, on the meeting between Mahler and Freud, which was produced in New York in 2013, and which has received several accolades. 

In November 2019, GSMNY, with the generous support of the Kaplan Foundation and Columbia University, held a day-long symposium on the topic “Mahler in New York”. Participants included Thomas Hampson; Barbara Haws; Stephen Helfing; Anna Stoll-Knecht; Marilyn McCoy; Vera Micznik; Eveline Nikkels; Morten Solvik; Jason Starr; Sybille Werner; and Benjamin Zander. An evening of songs by Mahler and others was presented after the symposium. 

GMSNY’s periodic newsletter, Wunderhorn, offers in-depth articles on Mahler’s life and music, as well as record reviews and notices of events of significance. Special events have included: socials during which members gather for to an informal discussion of various Mahler topics, and to share their Mahler experiences with each other; a walking tour of places in New York City that relate to the time Mahler resided here; and a record jury that discusses new Mahler recordings and answers questions from the members.


  • Lewis M. Smoley, President
  • Gay Walley, Secretary
  • Thomas Galligan, Treasurer

  • Paul Stumpf, member
  • Jason Starr, member
  • Marilyn McCoy, member
  •  Jeremy Shapiro, member
  • Randall Keith Horton, member
  • Leah Batstone, member
  • Edward W. Green, member

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