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Founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Chairman of Faculty and Artistic Director Peter Martins

The Mae L. Wien Awards

About Mae L. Wien

In the late nineteenth century Herman Levy from Russia and Roselle Linker of France immigrated to New York. They married in 1904 and in 1909, on the 4th of July, their daughter Mae was born. The Levys lived in Manhattan and Mae attended Julia Richmond Elementary School and Washington Irving High School, Columbia University, and art school as well.

At a New Year’s Eve party in 1928, Mae met Lawrence A. Wien and they were married the next year, returning from their honeymoon just before the infamous October stock market crash. The young married couple lived in Manhattan, then Brooklyn and, as Larry Wien’s business prospects flourished, in Connecticut. They had two daughters: Enid (“Dinny”) and Isabel.

It was a close-knit family, and when Dinny married Lester Morse and Isabel married Peter Malkin, they and their children stayed intimately involved with the Wiens. The extended family spent major holidays together and often traveled together.

Larry was involved with numerous New York City organizations and the Wiens were generous donors to Brandeis University, Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, and especially Columbia University and Columbia Law School. He sat on the Lincoln Center Board for many years and was instrumental in admitting the School of American Ballet to Lincoln Center as a full constituent.

When Mrs. Wien died in 1986, her husband and family established the annual Mae L. Wien Awards at SAB in her honor. At the same time, the family endowed a Faculty Chair in honor of Mrs. Wien. The first recipient of this honor was former ballerina and longtime faculty member, Alexandra Danilova. When she retired in 1989, the Mae L. Wien Chair passed to veteran teacher Andrei Kramarevsky.