And the Music Keeps Playing On and On

Robert and Patty Allen

Robert and Patty Allen

“Every time I step foot in Carnegie Hall, I feel like it’s my second home,” says Mrs. Patty Allen, a treasured member of the Isaac Stern Society, devoted Carnegie Hall Patron, and wife of the late composer Robert Allen. Chances are, you’ve already begun listening to Robert’s classic song “Home for the Holidays” to ring in this holiday season. His other iconic songs—“Moments to Remember,” “It’s Not for Me to Say,” and, of course, “Chances Are”—still remain staples of popular culture.

For future generations, these songs will also provide a significant source of funds to help Carnegie Hall nurture young and aspiring artists, thanks to an incredible gift from Patty and Robert: a bequest of the composer’s royalties to establish the Robert Allen Memorial Fund.

Patty and Robert’s story began in 1987, when Patty catered one of Robert’s parties. “He liked my lobster,” Patty laughs.

Actually, for Patty, her history with Robert began much earlier when she was 15: “I was taking piano lessons, and I started to play my future husband’s music. My two favorite songs to play were ‘Moments to Remember’ and ‘No, Not Much.’” Fast-forward to 1987, Robert makes a call to then–Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Judith Arron to handpick Carnegie Hall subscription seats for his date with Patty—seats that Patty has held to this very day. There, she witnessed Leonard Bernstein conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1987, attended the 1997 gala in honor of Isaac Stern, and even watched Robert’s second cousin conduct the New York Youth Symphony in 2017. An avid golfer, Patty jokes, “I was a jock...but I finally got to Carnegie Hall!”

Robert loved Carnegie Hall, and there were seasons when he and Patty had as many as three subscription series. “Popular music and classical music—the melody is what makes your heart sing,” Robert said. One of his favorite songs, “Meantime,” was written especially for Carol Burnett to sing on the 1962 TV special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall. In 1990, Robert gave a gift to Carnegie Hall to name a seat in memory of his father, Charlie Deitcher, with the engraving, “And the music keeps playing on and on.”

Throughout his life, Robert made sure that the music kept playing on through his support of young artists. Likewise, since Robert’s passing, Patty has been actively looking after Robert’s legacy. She continues to work with contemporary artists to re-record Robert’s catalog, and her efforts have included the 2005 global hit “Lonely” (based on the 1962 global hit “Mr. Lonely”) recorded by R&B / hip-hop artist Akon. The song—of which Robert controlled the publishing, having invested in it at a young age—ultimately brought in more than $1 million in royalties. But whether it is $1 million or $1, “everything counts,” Patty emphasizes.

Through every connection made, every subscription, every gift, and every dime of royalties bequeathed, Patty and Robert have created a home at the Hall for themselves and others, ensuring that “the music keeps playing on and on!”

Gifts like the one Patty Allen gifted to Carnegie Hall can help bring music to audiences of all ages for years to come. To learn how you can make a gift for our future, please contact Susan J. Brady at 212-903-9624 or to get started.