Gilbert Kaplan, who passed away this past New Year’s Day at the age of 74, was a successful business man with a passion, the music of Gustav Mahler. His success in business allowed him to immerse himself in Mahler’s music, specifically Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, for three decades.
Kaplan founded the magazine Institutional Investor in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. As an economic researcher, he realized professional money managers did not have a publication dedicated to their particular melieu. He was its editor in chief for nearly 20 years. He sold the magazine for a tidy sum in 1984 and devoted the second chapter of his life to promoting and conducting Mahler’s music.
He founded the Kaplan Foundation, whose mission is to support the scholarship and preservation of Mahler’s music. In particular, he dedicated himself to understanding Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and built an international reputation as amateur conductor and authority of that work. He would go on to conduct the symphony with over 60 orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He owned the autograph manuscript of Mahler’s score and was co-editor of the new critical edition, which is part of the complete critical edition.