Russell Hill Rogers, a San Antonio businessman, philanthropist and patron of the arts, had a long association with the arts in San Antonio. While in high school, he was concertmaster of the San Antonio Youth Symphony, and at the age of 17 was chosen to be in the violin section of San Antonio’s first Symphony Orchestra, founded by max Reiter in 1939.
For over 40 years, he was active in most of San Antonio’s arts organizations, serving on the Boards of the San Antonio Symphony Society, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and on the Council of the McNay Art Museum. As an actor/singer, Mr. Rogers played many roles on the stage of the San Pedro Playhouse and served as President of the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Little Theater. He was also a member and past president of the Texas Watercolor Society and sang with the Symphony Mastersingers for a time, including the period during which they served as the Opera Chorus for the touring MET productions presented annually in San Antonio from the 1940s to the 1960s. In 1979, a gift to the San Antonio Symphony from Mr. Rogers established the annual Russell Hill Rogers String Residency, providing local string players of all ages with a unique opportunity to work with internationally-renowned artists.
Shortly before his untimely death in 1986, Mr. Rogers established the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts for the “support, encouragement, and preservation of the creative and performing arts including, but not limited to, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature and drama.” Its specific purpose is to benefit arts organizations and provide arts offerings available to residents of Bexar County, and the Fund has underwritten a number of significant arts projects and productions in San Antonio.