"In Their Own Words"
A collection of life stories by donors who share their love of music and commitment to the BSO through their estate plans for future generations.
We are deeply grateful to these Legato Circle members for their heartfelt words and generous support.
Deceased members are indicated with an asterisk*.
I arrived in Baltimore in the fall of 1976 after spending many years in Chicago and Pittsburgh. In those days under the music direction of Sergiu Comissiona, we attended BSO concerts in the old Lyric Theater. However, Baltimore City, Mayor Schaefer and the Governor were committed to providing a new home for the Symphony. With the generosity of Mr. Joseph Meyerhoff and other major donors, and following the review of other concert halls around the world, they came up with a gem. Being in the construction business I was invited to visit the building while still under construction. Next came an even more interesting experience — an invitation to a "tune-up" concert in which the acoustical engineers would test their handiwork under actual operating conditions. As I recall it was a resounding success.
David Zinman soon became the Music Director, and with him the music took a decidedly more modern turn. Concerts in the new hall proved to be a great attraction and were sold out almost all the time. After Maestro Zinman's departure, it was a big event therefore when the BSO decided to hire a Russian conductor, Yuri Temirkanov. The new Music Center at Strathmore opened and I witnessed the inaugural BSO concert with Maestro Temirkanov and YoYo Ma as soloist, an event never to be forgotten!
Today, with Maestra Marin Alsop at the helm, we now have a music director who is a superb conductor balanced with charm, humor and very keen intellect, with a tireless commitment to promoting Baltimore City and educating the city's children through the OrchKids program, among a number of excellent learning opportunities.
What impresses me most about our symphony is the total dedication of our players to their work. The intensity of their playing and the focus of their attention is always a revelation to me when I watch them perform. Whenever I attend a concert my first thought is always "Are they all there?" and when I see a particular player not in his or her accustomed place, I worry that someone is sick, or something has happened to them. Having had the privilege of attending the performances of many different orchestras throughout the country, I believe that the BSO plays with more personal involvement than any other orchestra.
Providing support for the BSO through my estate is a natural outcome of my deep dedication to the musicians, to symphonic music, and to my strong commitment to helping to be sure that future generations of children and families will be able to enjoy our great Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Growing up in the Holtzman family in Baltimore, the arts were always an important part of our family life. I enjoyed going to the symphony as a child, and the BSO musicians came to my school to perform. After graduating from Goucher College, I became a life-long learner, first attending Columbia University for both my master's and PhD in anthropology, and later taking courses at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, Goucher College, and Baltimore County Community College in Catonsville and Owings Mills.
Before the BSO became such a good orchestra, my husband Emanuel Carton and I had season tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Eugene Ormandy. We later enjoyed attending Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts together, as well as traveling the world at least a full month each year including Antarctica, Asia, South America, Africa, USSR, often ending up our trips in Juan-les-Pins, France.
The BSO has always been at the center of my cultural life, and I am pleased to be able to provide a legacy through my estate, honoring our deep appreciation for the BSO through The Emanuel G. and Selma Carton Fund.
Growing up in Baltimore, I attended my first concerts of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra through my elementary school, as part of a small group of seven or eight, along with a chaperone, on Saturday mornings. At that time, I was about 8 years old and remember traveling by myself on the streetcar to meet the group which would then go to the Lyric together to hear the concert. Thus began a life-long love of music and of our Baltimore Symphony.
Years later, when I married, we had little money for concert tickets, and for a time, I did not attend BSO performances. Later when I remarried, I was able once again to go to the Symphony concerts, and have done so for about 30 years, often going alone, if that was the only way to attend a performance. I realized how important the Symphony was to me the year it was on strike, and I discovered I had a big void in my life. I'm certain I was as glad as the musicians were that they went back to work!!!
In recent years, I felt it was time to give back — to do something for the Baltimore Symphony for all those hours of pleasure I have enjoyed over so many years. I established a gift annuity through the Symphony for which I receive a guaranteed income for the rest of my life. I have also provided a bequest through my estate, establishing the Hannah and A. Joel Hoffman Endowment Fund, in honor of my late parents.
I continue to enjoy the BSO as much as ever, a tradition I hope to carry on for many years to come, content to know I have given back.
I have had a long association with the BSO, first through my mother, Sara Feldman, a violist and the first female full-time instrumentalist with the Baltimore Symphony. As a child growing up in a musical family, I thought, "Doesn't everyone have string quartets playing in their living rooms?"
Throughout my adult life, I have been a devoted BSO concert attendee and volunteer on many fronts, including serving as the first male President of the Baltimore Symphony Associates. My wife Sandy, who currently serves as Vice President for Membership, shares my understanding and appreciation for the orchestra and what it takes to maintain its superb level of musical excellence.
Including the BSO in my estate plans came naturally to me and my family. The BSO has been part of my life since early childhood, and through the Legato Circle, part of me will live on at the Symphony after I've gone. This is a great way to stay connected for generations to come.
I have listened to and played classical music since I was a small child. My father had music playing in the house all the time, including opera, which was a little tough for a tot to understand. We did enjoy watching cartoons together and hearing all the classical music that comprised the soundtrack. My mother was a gifted pianist, and I vividly remember a piano recital where we played a four hands version of Schubert's Marche Militaire.
When I returned to Baltimore in 1973, after being in Cambridge for college, I immediately bought tickets to the Symphony and have been attending ever since. One of the first gifts I gave my girlfriend, Debra (now wife of almost 33 years), was a set of records (vinyl!) of classical favorites. And, we've been going to the BSO since soon after we met.
We enjoy the concerts immensely and have shared our love for the BSO with friends, encouraging them to subscribe as well. It says a lot about our town that it has such a glorious orchestra. It's also important to support this institution, which is why we have contributed for all these years and now have made a bequest to the BSO in our wills.
Thank you, Marin Alsop, the players, and all those others involved with the BSO!
Music, especially choral singing, was always a part of Winnie's family. Family occasions always included someone playing the piano while everyone gathered around in song. Years later her introduction to orchestral offerings through the Pop Series naturally expanded to the classics, especially the charm of the "Off the Cuff Series." Bill, as a young boy at ages 6 through 10, was a "frequent flyer" at the old Hippodrome and the World War II offerings of the Big Band Era. He too followed the wonderful diversity of the BSO offerings.
Both are amazed by the talent and genius of the orchestra and Maestra Alsop and have great admiration for everyone's dedication to the mission of excellence the organization pursues.
We believe strongly in supporting our community and the various local causes in which we are involved. As long-standing BSO subscribers, donors, and volunteers, we have raised our children with a strong commitment to support local charities. Through Winnie's involvement as Past-President of the BSA, and Bill's involvement at the leadership level with several Baltimore organizations in addition to the BSO, we care deeply about the future of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
During our active careers, Bill served for 40 years as founder, CEO & President of Compensation Concepts, Inc., and currently serves as Vice President, Financial Services at WorkforceTactix, a company specializing in employee benefits, succession planning, and wealth management. Winnie enjoyed a long career in education, including 24 years at St. Paul's School for Boys as a teacher in the elementary school, as well as head Librarian.
Including the BSO in our estate plans is a natural outgrowth of our commitment to giving back as generously as we are able. With three children and eight grand-children, we have found a way to take care of our family and make a difference in the cultural organizations we support. We believe strongly in the greater Baltimore community and find great joy in giving back to the community. We care deeply about the Symphony and feel a responsibility and dedication to keep the arts flourishing. The musicians have sacrificed — so we are happy to support them.
I do believe that my love for music was inherited from my mother who studied music at Peabody while attending the Maryland College for Women.
As a boy growing up near Mt. Vernon Square, my mother forced me to take piano lessons, drum lessons, voice lessons, tap dancing and even ballet. I must admit that at that time, I preferred to be outside playing ball, but my mother said that someday I would appreciate music, and she was right.
I sang in the Glee Club at Gilman School and in college, and also participated in the octet at Gilman. Soon I was exposed to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and immediately enjoyed it. My wife Madge was the antithesis. Although she enjoyed music, she is not musically inclined but has learned that one of the great pleasures in life is attending the symphony.
We are blessed with an outstanding orchestra, and my wife and I feel it is a pleasure to provide the orchestra with a meaningful gift at our demise to help assure that future generations will have the same opportunities.
Before coming to Baltimore fifty some years ago, I had been involved musically for quite a considerable extent. Through high school and college (at the University of Rochester) I had played several instruments (piano, tuba, alto horn and string bass) and, starting at age 9, sung in church choirs and the university Glee Club. I had also been exposed to symphonic music thanks to my parents who at an early age starting taking me to pop concerts by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra led first by Jose Iturbi and, while I was in college, by Eugene Ormandy.
So it was completely normal that after arriving in Baltimore I started attending concerts by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Massimo Freccia. I don't recall who were his immediate successors were until the arrival of Sergiu Comissiona. In those early days it was impossible for me to subscribe since I worked three nights per week at various branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. While I was occasionally invited to join a concert by my wonderful landlady, Mrs. Eugene Leopold, I often would come home after work at 9 p.m., park my car and walk to the Lyric where I would join friends for the balance of the concert.
I also had the pleasure of performing on stage with the BSO with such groups at the Comic Opera of Baltimore chorus and the Baltimore Men's Chorus at both venues. With a good friend, Mr. Fred Lane, I subscribed for many years to both the Celebrity series on Friday evenings, and when his health declined switched to the Sunday matinees first by myself and now with a group of friends who I met through sailing — of all things.
Some years ago when I decided I was worth enough to make sense, I created my first will and started to think about what organizations were sufficiently deserving. Among this group, was of course, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is now in solid, as it is one of the legatees named in an irrevocable charitable remainder trust which was set up about ten years ago. No specific amount is named, but each organization will receive a percentage of the total at the time of my demise. Let's hope that the market will be doing well at the time I go toes up!
I have been attending Baltimore Symphony concerts since some time in the 1970's during the tenure of Sergiu Comissiona. Sometimes I would go by myself after work downtown. I often sat in the left balcony at the Lyric Opera House, and I believe the ticket price was only three dollars. I remember once sitting up there and feeling so emotional, and sometimes teary-eyed, when listening to Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor. At another concert I saw the aged (b. 1887) and diminutive — and yet larger than life — Artur Rubinstein play the piano. It was unforgettable.
The funny thing is that I don't know why I became such a fan of symphonic music. Growing up, I don't recall my parents being very interested in it. And yet my sister (in Chicago) and I both love going. Maybe some of the music classes in grades 1-12 sank in more than I realized. I'm sorry music education in school doesn't seem as valued today. I took a few college level music appreciation courses and have learned a lot from going to concerts all these years, but still, it's puzzling what made me the ardent fan I am today.
My partner Fraser Smith and I are Governing Members and attend over 25 concerts each season. We've gotten to know several musicians at various events such as receptions at the Meyerhoff, gatherings in Governing Members' homes, and GM trips to New York. That has made a big difference in our appreciation of the wonderful music they make. We also very much enjoy seeing our friends each week in the GM lounge, and we have loved being at the BSO Gala event in September. Fraser has covered the valuable OrchKids program for WYPR, Baltimore's local National Public Radio affiliate. The Baltimore Symphony is an important part of our lives.
I feel that the arts, and especially music, are primary in what makes life worth living. Because I value the Baltimore Symphony so much, I have included it in my will to help ensure that it will be there for future generations. I want them to benefit as much as I have.
Hooray for the Baltimore Symphony!
My first involvement with the BSO came as a result of Joe Meyerhoff who called me in 1981 and asked me to head up the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Annual Fund. I told Joe, "Why? I don't even like symphonic music...I'm a country western guy."
Several weeks later, he and Rebecca invited Lois and me to a concert at the BSO. Who was performing, but none other than Roy Clark and his band! Joe whispered in my ear "See Dick, we have something for everyone!"
As a result, I led the Annual Fund, joined the Board of Directors, of which I have been a member for 30 years, and chaired two BSO Galas. My wife and I have been long time subscribers and contributors, and believe whole heartedly in the value the BSO brings to the community in general, and to the business community in particular.
When people and businesses are looking for an area in which to locate, they look for quality of life which encompasses many things, with culture and education at or near the top of the list. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra leads these, and will continue to do so as a result of the Legato Circle and those who have provided for the BSO in their estate planning.
Music has always cleared my mind, heightened my senses and soothed me when I needed it most. I have loved popular music with the same intensity that I have cherished classical music. Classical music often opens new horizons, creates compelling rhythms in my head and paints exquisite, colorful pictures behind my eyes. I often am enveloped by the whole musical sound while, at other times, a solitary instrument sings specifically to me. Classical music for me ages like a priceless wine, growing headier and more compelling with each passing year and each subsequent time I hear the musical piece.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has grown with the same technical and melodic vigor as my appreciation and love of classical music. The sound grows ever more burnished and dramatic. Leadership of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has grown, changed and diversified over the years that I have been a member of the devoted audience. The musical leadership grows more exciting and distinguished with each new musical leader.
I have been fortunate to have become a part of the organization that supports this outstanding group of musicians, first as a founder of the Governing Members organization and subsequently as a member of the BSO Board of Directors. I have been involved during times of administrative strength and, on the other side, a degree of administrative weakness. Now the BSO is administratively very positive and strong. Through the years of administrative change, the orchestra and its music have continued to maintain excellence and vigor and demonstrate intense loyalty to the audience.
Joan and I feel so fortunate and committed to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra that we have designated a portion of our estate to be dedicated to the BSO after we have passed away. We feel strongly that the music must continue playing. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra must be there for our children and our grandchildren in the future.
Having grown up in a musical family, I feel that music is actually part of my DNA. My Mother, Frances Russell Forkel, was a fine classical pianist, organist and choral director. From a very early age she took me to both Baltimore Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra concerts on a regular basis. As far back as I can remember I went to bed listening to Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto.
I began studying the piano at age four and very soon after that also started playing the clarinet and cello. By age ten my piano teacher at Peabody insisted that I choose one instrument on which to focus and I chose the clarinet, spending eight years studying with renowned Peabody faculty member, Sidney Forrest. At age 16 I entered the BSO Young Musicians competition and, much to my surprise, came in first place, affording me the opportunity to play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto as a soloist with the BSO and to spend a summer at the Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan. For a variety of reasons, that experience changed the whole trajectory of my life in ways that would have been unimaginable to me at an earlier time. Ever since then I have remained tremendously grateful to the BSO for giving me that life altering opportunity. I vowed that if the time ever came that I was able to live again in the Baltimore area that I would do my best to give back to the BSO in time, and in money.
So, now after 40 years of living all over the United States and in England, I have moved back to Annapolis and am devoting a great deal of my time volunteering for the Baltimore Symphony in as many ways as possible. I am currently a Governing Member, serve on the Governing Members Executive Committee, am a Member of the Baltimore Symphony Associates, sit on its Board of Directors, chair a fund raising project for the BSA and am a member of the Women's Leadership Forum. Earlier this year, in honor of my recently deceased husband, Alan Kiepper, I established the Suzan R. Kiepper and Alan F. Kiepper Endowed Fund for the BSO Endowed Trust, through my estate plans.
It is a great honor and a great joy to be a member of the Legato Circle and to be able to give back in time and resources to the BSO in the hopes that other lives, like mine, may be enriched and changed through the beauty of music.
I grew up in Baltimore with my mother at the home of my grandparents on St. Paul's Street. My mother had been a teaching missionary in China for six years, eventually returning to Baltimore. My attachment to the BSO began early in school when the musicians would visit the Baltimore schools, and I also heard the Symphony play at the Lyric with my family.
After attending Friends School and graduating from Goucher College, my career began at T. Rowe Price where I worked in various capacities, eventually retiring as Vice president for Personnel after thirty-three years. I continue to enjoy many of the cultural organizations here in the Baltimore/Washington area, including the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Historical Society, the Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, Center Stage, and Everyman Theater. Much of my travel in Europe and Asia has been with groups sponsored by the various museums or Elderhostel.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is a cultural treasure, and I am pleased to be able to include a bequest to the BSO through my estate, providing for future generations of musicians and concert attendees.
Why would I leave a gift to the BSO when I die? That is a very easy question for me to answer. The Baltimore Symphony has been an important part of my life, almost daily, for more years than I want to say.
I cannot imagine a day without music in my life. In 1980 I was asked to work at the Symphony Decorators' Show House and to usher for the Mid-Week Youth Concerts. That is when symphonic music became important to me. I had listened to it occasionally and had been taught music appreciation in school, but the opportunity to be in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and to learn about and enjoy the music made me realize how important and exciting the BSO is to me and to so many people in the community.
Being involved with such an important cultural institution has made me grow. I took on challenges with the Baltimore Symphony Associates, the BSO Board of Directors and the Governing Members, just to mention a few. Because I know how important the organization is to the community, I want others to have the great opportunities that I have had by listening to beautiful music and meeting wonderful people in a great venue.
My love for symphonic music was awakened when I was about 11 years old. My Aunt Christine Koenig took me to Severance Hall, home of the renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Under the baton of George Szell I heard the glorious artistry of Arthur Schnabel, a very young Leon Fleisher, Robert Shaw — to name a few.
I was hooked! Symphonic music was my ticket to dream land.
When I moved to Baltimore in 1985 I became a subscriber to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Soon I became a member of the Baltimore Symphony Associates and involved myself in fund-raising activities for the education programs focused on student musical cultivation from pre-school through to a full life-time of music.
Music is a civilizing force. Today, more than ever, we must encourage cultural growth to satisfy the needs of human nature for uplifting responses to daily desires and needs. Society is deeply dependent on these fonts of grace and discernment to ensure comity for all.
Born in Ireland, I spent my high school years in Wales where I studied ballet. Later, as an adult in London, I met my husband Andrew, a physician, at a hospital where I served as the night superintendent of nurses. A native from Budapest, Andrew had attended many concerts at the Vienna Opera House, and could hum any tune from any piece of music — quite a talent!
We soon moved to Boston where Andrew and I were on staff at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, a Harvard Hospital. I began attending concerts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, invited by a friend on Friday afternoons. This started an enthusiasm for symphonic music, and following three years in Texas while Andrew was stationed with the U.S. Army, we settled for five years in Charleston, SC where I became very involved with the Charleston Symphony, serving as President of the Women's Board.
A resident of Baltimore for the past 37+ years, I continued my work in nursing, most recently with disturbed adolescents. I soon became involved with the BSO, joining the BSA under President Peg Sadler. When Marin Alsop began the OrchKids program, I became a passionate advocate for the program and the kids.
I believe that OrchKids is a life-changing experience for the children, giving them so much to be proud of, with a tremendous positive impact on their families. Some receive scholarships to attend Peabody, and this program gives them inspiration to seek further opportunities in their lives.
I have taken the step of including the BSO in my estate plans in support of the BSO education programs for children and youth. The musicians and staff have made a lot of sacrifices, and I want to be sure that future generations of patrons will be able to enjoy the wonderful music and the life-changing educational programs.
My late husband Bob and I are deeply dedicated to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, having enjoyed music together for close to 64 years of our married life.
Growing up in York, PA, I first studied piano and then switched to the accordion, the rage during the 1930's. As I had relatives in New York City, I would take the train up by myself each month from about nine years old through high school to study with Pedro Dario, a well-known professional accordion player. I also became active in the Vincent Lopez All-Girl Accordion Band, and each Saturday morning several of us would travel by station wagon to meet up with other accordion players to play for a children's concert at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore. On Thursday afternoons, I took the bus by myself in York to the local radio station to play the accordion, playing by myself at around age ten or twelve. I eventually graduated from a 12 bass accordion to a 120 bass accordion – very heavy! This playing grew into a life-long appreciation for and love of music.
Bob and I both attended the York Symphony Orchestra with our own families growing up, and I also attended the Symphony through school, with each child — those who could afford it — paying for his or her own ticket. Bob studied the violin, and although his mother had hoped he would join the York Symphony Orchestra, WWII intervened and Bob joined the Navy. Soon after he was discharged, we were married and moved to Baltimore, where I became active with the Baltimore Symphony Associates, attending many BSO concerts and helping with the Show House. Our travels each summer took us all over the world, with China my favorite and most interesting country, especially the music which I find fascinating.
Including the BSO in my estate plans is a logical testament to my husband's and my deep appreciation and love of music, serving as a tribute to the many years we enjoyed attending Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts together. We want the BSO to flourish in years to come, giving others as much enjoyment as we shared.
With Philadelphia as my hometown, I was able to enjoy the wonderful Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy at the Academy of Music with my parents and grandmother. Although we didn't attend often, these concerts made a strong impression on me and started my life- long love of music, along with being "sent" to piano lessons at an early age.
At Shenandoah University (then Conservatory of Music), I majored in music education, and was recruited to Baltimore County Public Schools to teach in the Towson area. In those days, the BSO played at the various high schools, including Dulaney High School, where I took my elementary school students to concerts each year. When the BSO discontinued playing in local schools, my students and I came to the Lyric. At this time, late 70's and early 80's, we enjoyed watching the Meyerhoff Hall being built, knowing that soon we would enjoy the new Baltimore Symphony Orchestra home.
Now attending concerts with my husband, and raising two children of my own, I became involved with the Music for Youth programs, and met BSO narrator and Board member Rheda Becker. She was instrumental in helping to shape the programs for children, and was quite supportive of ideas and suggestions I had for the programs. During those years, Rheda and I corresponded frequently which led to my being asked to join the BSO Education Committee where I have remained involved for more than twenty-five years. For two years I authored the Teachers' guide for the mid-week concert series, and later, through my friendship with Carol O'Connell Minkin and Maurice Feldman, joined the Baltimore Symphony Associates. Since 2000, I have enjoyed being active in the BSA, serving as Symphony Decorators' Show House Chair and currently as President.
I continued my career as a music educator at the elementary school level, curriculum consultant, supervisor, and more recently as a certification specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education. Now with three grandchildren, I hope soon to focus fully on my family and love of music.
I decided to include the BSO in my estate plans as I feel strongly that music education needs to be provided for ALL children now, and in the future — for my grandchildren, and for their children.
Born and raised in Baltimore County, Nancy grew up in a family where music was important, particularly as her parents loved music and especially ballroom dancing. She sang in her church choir as a child, and attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra through school — Peter and the Wolf was a favorite. As a family, the Smiths attended concerts at the Lyric, and particularly enjoyed the Pops series.
Later as a student at Towson University (then State Teacher's College) Nancy studied piano on a wooden keyboard in the dorm, learning music fundamentals. But the illness of first her father, and then her mother, pulled her away from her studies in order to care for her parents. Through the years, Nancy continued to attend the BSO, enjoying especially the Pops concerts, now under the leadership of Jack Everly. "I am a true fan!" laughs Nancy.
Nancy has loved her years with the BSO, far beyond the concerts. She enjoys traveling with the symphony, especially to Carnegie Hall and other local trips. At the various special events such as the Allegretto dinners, she appreciates the opportunity to meet wonderful people and make new friends.
Nancy decided to include the BSO in her estate plans as a way to demonstrate her deep appreciation for the symphony. The concerts, the camaraderie, the travel — have all changed her life fully. Through her bequest, Nancy has honored her late parents by establishing The A. Arlene and Carroll W. Smith Fund in unrestricted support of the BSO.
"I feel very blessed" Nancy noted, "and want to give back for all the joy I have received. I also have the comfort of knowing that my bequest is revocable should the funds be needed at a time in the future."
I became a subscriber to the BSO after I moved to Bethesda from Washington, D.C. in 2002. I remember attending a concert in Baltimore with conductor Yuri Temirkanov, featuring the great Russian violinist Vadim Repin. Thrilled when the BSO established its presence at Strathmore, I still make occasional visits to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. A vivid memory of Temirkanov's dress rehearsal at Strathmore for the BSO's visit to Carnegie Hall includes performances of works by two important post-Shostakovich composers: Schnittke and Kancheli. From the current and continuing tenure of Maestra Alsop, I most enjoy her conducting of contemporary music.
I grew up listening to great music on the radio stations of my hometown of New York City. While still attending college, I was fortunate to work as an extra a few times at the old Metropolitan Opera House on 36th Street. As an adult I became an occasional visitor to the Met as part of its audience. As early as 1960, I became a summer visitor to the Glimerglass Opera Center (in Cooperstown, NY) and to the Marlboro Music Festival in southeast Vermont. At Marlboro, the emphasis was on chamber music, directed by Rudolph Serkin and Pablo Casals, who taught conducting. Restricting my travel as I approached eighty, I maintain a strong interest in opera through the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts to a local movie house, and attendance at performances at the Maryland Opera Studio of the Clarice Smith Center of the University of Maryland, College Park. I also have a large collection of opera DVD's.
Although I lack any formal musical training, I think of myself as being a very broadly knowledgeable member of the musical audience. I believe in giving back to my favorite cultural organizations, and the BSO is among the most important.