Fanfare Contributor Bio
At Syracuse University in the early 1960s I studied music history in the liberal arts college and piano in the music school. In 1963, a friend and I took over the only FM radio station in Syracuse, which was about to fold, and turned it into a full time commercial classical music station. We ran it (WONO) until 1978, and for many of those 15 years I was responsible for programming 18 hours of music a day. Public radio came along, and we turned the format over to them and sold the station in 1978. I then became orchestra manager of the New York Philharmonic from 1978-1981, executive director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington from 1981-1985, and executive director (later the title was changed to president) of the Chicago Symphony from 1985-2003. In 2003 I became president and CEO of the American Symphony Orchestra League, which has now changed its name to League of American Orchestras.
In 1968 in Syracuse, I conceived of and hosted the first radio marathon for a symphony orchestra, raising about $8,000 for the Syracuse Symphony. The idea caught on, and In the 1970s and 1980s I helped produce and anchor over 100 "radiothons" for 26 different orchestras in the U.S. and Canada, raising a total well into the millions of dollars.
I have continued my involvement with radio, producing a variety of programs for Chicago's classical station WFMT's series on Furtwängler and Maria Callas, and currently Collectors' Corner, a two-hour program that has run weekly for over 10 years. Collectors' Corner makes use of my extensive collection, which consists of approximately 5,000 LPs and 20,000 CDs. My son Karl, a computer programmer, put the database of my collection online, where it is available to anyone as a reference. Many orchestras and music presenters use it as the most complete guide to timings. I have also appeared as a regular panelist on the Metropolitan Opera Broadcast Quiz.
I have served on many non-profit boards. I was chairman of the board of the American Symphony Orchestra League from 2001-2003, and served a previous 10-year term as a trustee in the 1980s and 1990s. I have been both president and chairman of the Illinois Arts Alliance, and am a member of the Board of Overseers of The Curtis Institute, the Steering Committee for the National Women Conductors Initiative, the executive committee of the Avery Fisher Awards Program, and the Honorary Board of the Institute for the Study of Black Music at Columbia College. I have judged conducting competitions worldwide, and have served as a consultant to orchestras throughout the country. I have contributed articles to The Harvard Dictionary of Music, the book Contemporary Composers, and write a monthly column for the Korean music magazine Auditorium.
My wife Fran and I have two children and three grandchildren, continue to live in River Forest, a suburb of Chicago, and aside from music my other principal hobbies are travel and Chinese cooking.