Winspear Centre Resolves Dispute Between Edmonton Symphony and Philanthropist's Son Over Bequest

Classic Arts News   Winspear Centre Resolves Dispute Between Edmonton Symphony and Philanthropist's Son Over Bequest
Officials at Edmonton's Winspear Centre for Music have resolved a dispute over how a multimillion-dollar will left by philanthropist Stuart Davis should be distributed, reports CBC News.

Davis's son Ronald has agreed that his father's estate will give the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation (which runs the Winspear Centre) nearly C$2 million, with several hundred thousand dollars earmarked for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, according to CBC.

The battle over the will was first reported by Canadian media in December, after it was revealed that the younger Davis and the orchestra both believed they were entitled to the estate residue (the money remaining after all other bequests and expenses have been paid), which was expected to total about C$1 million.

The original will dictated that Ronald Davis should receive an annuity of C$5,000 per month. However that annuity was apparently crossed out with pencil stroke and the residue funds redirected to the Edmonton Symphony. The handwritten will was difficult to interpret, with both sides claiming the money was theirs. The dispute later went to court.

"What made it difficult was that it was a handwritten will. He had made various changes to it at various times and some of these changes were contradictory to other changes," Ronald Davis told CBC News. "The Edmonton Symphony was a very important component of what made Edmonton — to me — a good place to grow up. So I wanted to do right by myself and I wanted to do right by them, too."

The senior Davis, who died in July 2005, was a great supporter of both the Winspear Centre and the ESO, which plays at the venue. The Winspear funds will go towards the maintenance and operation of the Davis Concert Organ, which was built largely from a donation by Davis and inaugurated in 2002.

Stuart Davis was a retired professor who got lucky on the stock market, according to CBC.

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