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Schuyler Garrison Chapin (February 13, 1923 – March 7, 2009) was a General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, and later Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City during the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He famously noted of his work, that: "There is nothing simple in the world of the arts" (New York Times, 1995).[1]

Schuyler Garrison Chapin
Schuyler Chapin photo.jpg
General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera
In office
Preceded byGöran Gentele
Succeeded byAnthony A. Bliss
Personal details
Born(1923-02-13)February 13, 1923
New York City
DiedMarch 7, 2009(2009-03-07) (aged 86)
New York City
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Steinway
(m. 1947–1993; her death)
Catia Zoullas Mortimer
(m. 1995–2009; his death)
ParentsLindley Hoffman Paul Chapin
Leila Howard Burden
EducationMillbrook School
AwardsLégion d'honneur (2002)


Early life and familyEdit

Schuyler Garrison Chapin was born on February 13, 1923. He was the son of Lindley Hoffman Paul Chapin (1888–1938) and Leila Howard (née Burden) (1899–1967).[2]

Chapin was a ninth generation descendant of Captain Philip Pieterse Schuyler (1628–1683), who settled in New Netherland around 1650, with his brother David Pietersen Schuyler.[3] Chapin's maternal pedigree extends to include: Priv. Isaac Kingsland (1710–1803); Third Battalion, of the New Jersey Continental Line, who married 3 Jun. 1741 Joanna (née Schuyler);[4] Chapin's sixth great grandparents removed. Their granddaughter Catherine Schuyler (née Kingsland) married Capt. Oliver Garrison; Chapin's fourth great grandparents removed; parents of Commodore Cornelius Kingsland Garrison;[5] whose granddaughter Cornelia Garrison (née Van Auken) married Lindley Hoffman Chapin; paternal grandparents of Schuyler G. Chapin.

Through the Schuyler and Van Rensselaer families of New York and New Jersey, Schuyler G. Chapin was the third cousin sixth removed of Elizabeth "Betsy" (Schuyler);[6] wife of First U. S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton; daughter of Maj. Gen. Philip John Schuyler, Jr., who was one of four major generals named by Congress in 1775, and third cousin fifth removed of Chapin.[7] Major General Schuyler served instrumentally in the Burgoyne Campaign (1777).[8] [1]

His paternal side descends in the ninth generation from early English Puritan Deacon Samuel Chapin who arrived in America, from Devonshire, between 1633–1635, and was later one of the founders of Springfield, Massachusetts.[9][10][11]


While still a teenager, in the 1930s, he began accompanying millionaire widow and former actress Eleanor Belmont to the Metropolitan Opera.[12] He attended the Millbrook School in 1940, where he was very active in the performing and musical arts,[13] however, he did not graduate from high school, nor college, but was the recipient of numerous university honors. He became a pilot during World War II.

By 1953, he had become Jascha Heifetz's tour manager. Around this time, he also befriended Leonard Bernstein, several of whose live recordings, including the Grammy award-winning Beethoven's Birthday (1970), Chapin produced.

In 1963, he was named vice-president of Lincoln Center and co-founded the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1969.[14] In 1972, he accepted the position of General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera after the previous GM, Göran Gentele, died in a car accident before the opening of his first season. Chapin stayed on at the Met for four years, subsequently becoming Dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts. During Chapin’s tenure at Columbia, enrollment doubled, and he raised $7 million and strengthened the fine-arts curriculum. He remained there for 10 years, being kept on as Dean emeritus. He then moved on to the job of vice president of Steinway & Sons before becoming the cultural affairs commissioner of New York City from 1994 to 2001.[15]

In 2002, he was awarded France's Légion d'honneur, 82 years after his father; L. H. Paul Chapin, a World War I liaison officer between General Pershing and Marshall Foch, received the same honor. He also wrote several books, including Leonard Bernstein: Notes From a Friend and was also a Board Member Emeritus In Memoriam at The Center for Arts Education.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

On March 15, 1947, he married his first wife, Elizabeth Steinway (1925-1993).[16] Steinway was the daughter of Theodore E. Steinway and Ruth (née Davis) Steinway.[17] The Steinways were descendants of Henry E. Steinway (the founder of Steinway & Sons). Chapin's best man was his uncle by marriage, Francis Biddle, the former United States Attorney General.[15] Together, they had four sons:

  • Henry Burden Chapin
  • Theodore Steinway Chapin
  • Samuel Garrison Chapin, who married Caroline Shippen Davis in 1982[18]
  • Miles Chapin (born December 6, 1954)

After his wife died in 1993, Chapin met and married his second wife, divorcee Catia Zoullas Mortimer, in 1995. Mayor Rudy Giuliani officiated the marriage at Gracie Mansion, New York City.[15]


  1. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. Schuyler G. Chapin, Stalwart Champion of the Arts in New York, Dies at 86. New York Times. 9 Mar. 2009, A21.
  2. ^ Harvard College (1780 -), Class of 1911. Decennial Report. Pub. Four Seasons Co., 1921, pp. 70 – 71.
  3. ^ Christoph, Florence A. Schuyler Genealogy: A Compendium of Sources Pertaining to the Schuyler Families in America Prior to 1800. Pub. Friends of Schuyler Mansion, 1992, Vol. 1, p. 119
  4. ^ Lineage Book. By Daughters of the American Revolution, 1921, Vol. 57, pp. 270 – 271.
  5. ^ Abbott, Lyman, et al., eds. The National Cyclopedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic. New York: J. T. White, 1897, Vol. 7, p. 262.
  6. ^ Cutter, William Richard and Cuyler, Reynolds. Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation. New York; Lewis Hist. Pub. Co., 1914, Vol. 3, pp. 1379.
  7. ^ Seymour, Mary Jane, Historian General. Lineage Book: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Washington, DC, 1899, Vol. 8, p. 295.
  8. ^ De Peyster, John Watts. Major General Philip Schuyler and the Saratoga Campaign in the Summer of 1777. Pub. Kiessinger, 2006, p. 2.
  9. ^ Crane, Ellery Bicknell. Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity. New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1907, p. 220 – 221. Followed by Norcross family 221 – 223.
  10. ^ Quintin Publications. The Chapin Gathering; Proceedings of the Meeting of the Chapin Family, in Springfield, Mass., September 17, 1862. Pub. S. Bowles & Co., 1862, pp. 35 – 36.
  11. ^ Adams, William Frederick & Cutter, William Richard, Eds. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910, Vol. 3, pp. 1528–1530.
  12. ^ New York Times article.
  13. ^ Film interview (2006) about his experience at Millbrook School.
  14. ^ Grimes, William (2011-09-20). "William F. May, 95, Dies; Helped Found Film Society". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  15. ^ a b c d Wakin, Daniel J. (7 March 2009). "Schuyler Chapin, Patriarch of Arts in New York, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  16. ^ Staff (18 June 1993). "Elizabeth Chapin, Arts Panel Member And Volunteer, 68". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  17. ^ Isacoff, Stuart and Ratcliffe, Robald V. Steinway. Chronicle Books, 2002, pp. 24 – 25.
  18. ^ "Caroline Shippen Davis Wed". The New York Times. 23 May 1982. Retrieved 11 April 2016.

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