Before moving to Lexington, I lived in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. In each of these locales, music and the symphony were integral to the cultural fabric of the community and important to enhancing the quality of life. Music has been important to me personally, and the symphony has enriched my life wherever I have lived.
I did not know what to expect when I moved to Lexington since it was a smaller town than the ones I had lived in previously. I was surprised and pleased to see the scope and span of the Lexington Philharmonic under the leadership of George Zack. Not only did my family become subscribers and donors to the Philharmonic, I also joined the board of directors.
In fact, I was the chair of the board when Scott Terrell took over the baton. With astonishment, I watched as maestro Terrell continued to respect and solidify the base Zack built over his distinguished career and then embarked, as should any new leader, on expanding and enhancing it.
He gradually but systematically broadened the scope by bringing in new classical artists such as Dame Evelyn Glennie and Midori as he also introduced rising musical stars and Avery Fisher Prize recipients, such as Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg and Alessio Bax.
Terrell also successfully experimented with new venues such as Christ the King Cathedral for a very moving and spiritual Messiah, as well as performances in the Black Box Theater such as the acclaimed Maria de Buenos Aires, a tango opera. His innovative "Kicked Back Classics" program gives the public a chance to experience music in an interactive and intimate setting.
He steadfastly maintained previous important relationships with other art organizations such as Lexington Singers, who continue to perform with us often. At the same time, more than 80 new artists, choruses and dance groups have taken the stage with us, sharing our resources and providing real-life learning experiences for the young people of our region.
This energy and creativity has paid dividends. Subscriptions are at record levels and full houses are common. To my eye, the audience has more young people. The "buzz" as reflected in numerous recent reviews has celebrated the expanded repertoire. I often bring guests, sometimes visitors to Lexington from larger cities with acclaimed orchestras, who invariably praise the quality of the orchestra and the creativity of the programming.
I will be leaving the board this year, but do so with pride, hoping that I have contributed in some small way to the orchestra's expanded engagement within the community. Zack should be proud of the orchestra he "raised." The musicians should be proud of their enhanced virtuosity. Terrell should be proud of the artistic excitement that he has brought about.
Most importantly, concertgoers should be proud of the Lexington Philharmonic and reward the orchestra by their attendance and financial support. The citizens of Lexington are the true beneficiaries of having great music in a wonderful city.
At issue: March 8 Herald-Leader article, "Musicians, management not in harmony; Philharmonic contract negotiations stuck on several issues" and March 25 Feedback column by George Privett, "Lexington Singers in tune with community; Group has no part in Philharmonic's dispute"
Ellen Karpf is past-president of the Lexington Philharmonic board of directors.