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Marianne Liberatore, 83, Westport Music Director

WESTON, Conn. – Marianne van Hoorn Liberatore, who promoted classical music and humanitarian causes for many years, died June 1 at her home in Weston after a period of declining health. She was 83.

Liberatore was a former program director and president of the South Shore Music Club.

She was born Sept. 30, 1928 in Wilmington, Del. to Helen Renner and Albert Willem Westpalm van Hoorn. She spent her childhood in Wilmington and Annapolis, Md., where she was an avid sailor. After completing high school at the age of 16, Liberatore graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in history and art history when she was 20.

After college, she worked in Manhattan as a buyer for Macy's and a lecturer in retailing at the Tobe-Coburn School. She married Joseph Jewett in 1957 and the couple settled in Larchmont, N.Y. They relocated to Westport in 1965 with their two sons.

In Westport, Liberatore promoted musical events at local schools as chair of the cultural affairs committee of the Westport PTA. She then became involved with the South Shore Music Club in 1967. She mounted a show at the Westport Public Library called "Westport Artists of the Past" to commemorate the United States bicentennial in 1976.

After her husband's death in 1972, Liberatore worked in marketing and publicity for Famous Schools, Sandak Inc. and Garden Way Associates.

She married Nicholas Liberatore in 1973 and relocated to San Francisco, where she again worked for Macy's while starting her own business, Shop Work Inc. The couple spent a few years sailing and living in a house that she designed on Orr's Island, Maine. Liberatore and her husband returned to Connecticut in 1993, moving to Weston.

For 19 years, she promoted classical music and humanitarian causes in Fairfield County. She was named program director of South Shore Music Club and then president in 1994.

Liberatore led a charitable outreach effort in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the mid-90s. Moved by the story of a Bosnian cellist who played in public places during the siege of the city, she began a campaign to rebuild the Sarajevo Philharmonic. She raised money to buy instruments and pay for repairs of the group's many damaged instruments, including one cello with a bullet hole.

In 1995, Liberatore established the Free Young Persons' concert series at the Pequot Library. When she resigned as South Shore president in 2002, she established the Free Young Persons' concerts as a separate entity called Music for Youth.

Liberatore and Music for Youth started an annual college scholarship for graduates of Fairfield public schools who continued their musical studies beyond high school. Among her awards, she received the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Outstanding Women of Connecticut Award in 2003 and the Westport Arts Advisory Council Champion of the Arts Award in 2010.

She is survived by two sons, Joe (Kira) Jewett of Northampton, Mass. and Willem (Jean) Jewett of Ripton, Vt.; four stepsons, George, Nick, Elliot and Mark; a stepdaughter, Virginia; five grandchildren; four cousins in Holland and a niece. She was predeceased by her husband of 38 years, Nicholas Liberatore.

A concert of remembrance will be held in her honor on June 23.

Memorial donations may be made to Music for Youth, Inc., P.O. Box 403, Westport, CT 06880.

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