50 years ago today, Interlochen founder Joseph Maddy passed away

Apr 18, 2016

Today, April 18, 2016, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the passing of Joe Maddy— the founder of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Maddy passed away on this day in 1966 at the age of 74.

Joe Maddy was born in Wellington, Kansas in 1891. He grew up playing in string quartets, but wanted to learn more about playing the violin and viola. He quit school after eighth grade to pursue his musical passion.

Then, in the late 1920’s, Joe Maddy was asked to form a national high school orchestra, for the Music Supervisors National Conference in Dallas. 


Bryon Hanson, is the former archivist at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He says it was at that conference in Texas, when Maddy envisioned the things that could be accomplished if the students spent the whole summer together, instead of just three or four days.

“And by 1928, he was ready to go,” Hanson explains. “He had managed to get funds from instrument manufacturers, publishers of music, to help him make this camp happen.”