Founder & Benefactor of The HARID Conservatory (1923–2008)
The HARID Conservatory’s founder and benefactor, Fred Lieberman—known anonymously for twenty years as “the Donor” to HARID students, employees, friends, and supporters—passed away on March 12, 2008.
Born in Philadelphia in 1923, Mr. Lieberman was the youngest of Harry and Ida Lieberman’s eight children. He attended Overbrook High School and then enrolled at the RCA Institute in New York where he studied radio and television engineering. He entered the armed forces in 1943 and served as a Master Sergeant in the Western Defense Command in California. Following his discharge, Mr. Lieberman worked as a field engineer for Jerrold Electronics before starting his own cable-television company, Telesystems Service Corporation, with business partner Jack Crosby. Together, they built and operated cable-television systems throughout the eastern half of the United States and founded a cable-television company in Switzerland, Telekable Swiss. In subsequent years, Mr. Lieberman used his knowledge of the electronic and cable industry to develop projects including electronics security systems for home and business, and a satellite-transmission service for sporting events. He also created Cable Guide, the first magazine for cable TV, which reached a monthly circulation of seven million within three years. A true philanthropist, he generously supported numerous charitable causes, always anonymously.
Mr. Lieberman founded The HARID Conservatory in 1987. In addition to paying for the school’s beautiful campus and spacious facilities, he funded the program’s annual operating costs for two decades and established an endowment fund that would enable HARID to continue training young artists in perpetuity.
“The HARID Conservatory is an extraordinary and precious gift, given selflessly by Fred Lieberman to aspiring young dancers, the South Florida community, and the entire dance world.
During a time when, across the United States, funding and support for arts education have been diminished or curtailed, hundreds of talented students—in answer to their dreams—have benefited from the tuition-free training provided by HARID. Also during this time, thousands of South Florida residents have enjoyed the many high-quality dance performances produced as a product of HARID’s curriculum. The theater-going public has been treated to classical and neo-classical ballets, modern dance, and contemporary ballets—some created by major choreographers whose works are rarely, if ever, performed elsewhere in Florida.
On a larger scale, the dance world has also been significantly and positively affected by Mr. Lieberman’s gift. Over the years, more than eighty professional dance companies across the United States and in Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia have employed HARID’s former students. Adjectives and phrases commonly used by artistic directors in describing these young artists include well-schooled, technically strong, disciplined, quick, intelligent, dependable, courteous, and a joy to work with. More than a few HARID alumni have distinguished themselves in the dance world as soloists and principal artists in leading U.S. companies.
The HARID Conservatory will forever remember and honor its founder and benefactor, Fred Lieberman. He was a remarkable man and a great and generous supporter of dance.”
— Gordon Wright, Director