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The Score - December 2015

December 22, 2015

Meet the New ASO President, Don Kotrady

The Austin Symphony Board of Directors unanimously elected Donald Kotrady as the 22nd President in the organization’s 105 year history on December 9, 2015.

Kotrady currently serves on the Lakeway Zoning and Planning Commission and on the Citizens Advisory Committee for Travis County Emergency Services District No. 6. During his working years in Wilmington, Delaware, Don spent several years on the Board of the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and was a loaned executive to the United Way of Delaware.

“The Symphony is extremely fortunate to have in its new board president such an experienced and talented person,” said Tom Neville, out-going president of the Austin Symphony. “Don Kotrady has been a tremendously active board member. Over the past three years, he has led some of our most influential committees, including our business gifts committee. His passion for securing the Austin Symphony’s future is unmatched; I know Don will be an excellent president for the organization.”

Kotrady and his wife Cindy originally moved to central Texas in 1995, after Don retired from a 30 year career with Astra-Zeneca. At Astra-Zeneca, Kotrady held many managerial and executive positions, including directing chemical plant construction and operations in the US, Canada, Europe, and South America, while also directing AZ’s Specialties Chemical Division’s Safety, Health and Environmental programs. Don and Cindy have been active with the Symphony since their arrival in Austin.

Musician Spotlight – Blake Turner

Blake Turner playing music at the Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado during the Aspen Music Festival

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Education: Bachelor’s of Music, Rice University, 2013. Currently working on my Master’s degree at the University of Texas

Year joined the ASO: 2014

Why did you choose the viola? My first instrument was the piano and I loved it! Around that same time, my younger brothers were also playing the violin. I knew that I wanted to play a string instrument too (you get to use a bow!), but it couldn’t be a violin since my brothers were violinists. I think the mellow and rich sound was what drew me to the viola and I’ve been happy with my choice ever since!

What are you looking forward to most in the 15/16 Season? I’m looking forward to our February performances with Anton Nel! Anton is such an amazing person and musician.

Offstage I like to… Play basketball. I love playing pickup games over at Gregory Gym on UT campus.

*Describe an unforgettable moment, as a performer or listener, you had as a young musician.*During my last year at Rice University, our orchestra took a tour to Carnegie Hall! That will always be a special memory.

Favorite food or meal? Growing up in Texas has given me a love for everything Tex-Mex. There are so many amazing taco places here in Austin. It’s perfect!

Favorite thing to do in Austin? Swimming at Barton Springs is amazing. The water is so clear and beautiful.

ASO Brings Christmas Music to the Austin Community

An ASO Woodwind Quintet at the Asian American Resource Center

We’ve had a busy month at the Austin Symphony – accompanying the Ballet on 14 performances of the Nutcracker, our sold out Handel’s Messiah concert at Hyde Park Baptist Church, having December 17, 2015 proclaimed “Austin Symphony Day” by Mayor Adler, performing 10 free “Christmas in the Community” concerts throughout Austin and preparing for our end of month Pops concerts saluting Frank Sinatra.

We’ve had small ensembles play at Montopolis Recreation Center, George Washington Carver Museum, Asian American Resource Center, Gus Garcia Center, the Capitol, and various Macy’s locations around town. These concerts enable us to go into the community and have a further reach of the people in central Texas. We are honored to be able to give back around the holidays to the community that has supported us for 105 years. And there’s still one more chance to catch a “Christmas in the Community” concert – Wednesday, December 23 at 6:00 PM at Symphony Square!

Women’s Symphony League

(by Karen Gernstein, President of the Women’s Symphony League)

With the holiday season upon us, the members of The Women’s Symphony League of Austin (WSL) are busy on several fronts. The 2015 Jewel Ball: Keep Austin Classical, was both a beautiful event and highly successful from a fundraising perspective, exceeding all expected revenue goals. In addition to the countless hours our members spent creating this unforgettable evening, we are deeply grateful to our generous Jewel Ball sponsors, without whom this vision would never have become reality.

Before the 2015 Jewel Ball even took place, the 2016 Jewel Ball committee was hard at work on next year’s event. This dynamic group has an innovative and exciting approach to Jewel Ball fundraising which includes partnering with corporate sponsors, and we expect them to accomplish great things.

Our second major fundraiser of the year, the Red Haute Valentine’s Fashion Show and Luncheon, will be here soon – January 31st. Taking place at Austin Country Club, this fun-for-all-ages event has steadily grown in popularity and profitability, becoming a Valentine’s tradition for families throughout Austin. Modeling opportunities for children, event tables, and individual tickets are currently available on the WSL website (

This fall our national award-winning ASO Youth Leadership Council’s (YLC) membership exceeded 100 Austin-area students. The WSL is immensely proud of this new youth outreach program and its unprecedented growth since its creation only three years ago. In April, the YLC will receive another prestigious award – this time, from the Texas Association of Symphony Orchestras (TASO) at their conference in Amarillo, Texas.

Another program slated to be honored by TASO in April is the WSL’s Orchestra Relations program, through which home-cooked meals are provided to ASO musicians at dress rehearsal. This year, an enthusiastic and innovative committee hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the musicians, letting them know that we as music enthusiasts are truly thankful for all that they do.

The WSL wishes the entire ASO family a happy, peaceful, and musical holiday season.

Arbor Series

An exciting start for the 2015-16 Arbor Series was the presentation of a check for $25,000 to ASO President Tom Neville by Arbor Chairperson Pat Cherico. The donation from the Arbor Series is from annual dues and silent auction monies for hosting the head table for Maestro Bay and the guest artist(s).

Arbor member Nancy Griffith was host of the head table on September 19 featuring guest artist Gustovo Romero, pianist. Kathryn Miller of Cowgirls and Flowers donated the head table floral centerpiece in a miniature grand piano complete with Beethoven on the piano. New Arbor members welcomed at the September meeting were Kim and Dave Murray, Sherrie and Jay Stewart, Ron Jernigan, Josephine Roche, Julie and Jonathan Lass.

Marvin and Leslie Brittman were hosts of the October head table at the J.W. Marriott with guest artist In Mo Yang, recent first prize winner of the Paganini competition in Genoa, Italy. This was the first time since 2009 that the first place prize had been awarded and one of the memorable moments Mr. Yang told members about was to actually play Paganini’s violin in the concert. The October head table centerpiece of skeletons playing violins made from miniature skeletons was made by Jonn Cherico, Arbor Co-Chairperson, and owner of Cherico Creative.

At the November 19 Arbor luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel members enjoyed the discussion of the weekend’s concerts, “The French Connection”, by Maestro Bay, Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson and guest Soprano, Mela Dailey. Winning silent auction members and hosts of the head table were Eva and Marvin Womack, Jeanne Hoisington, and Brenda Smith. Jeanne Hoisington was delighted to take home the beautiful centerpiece donated by David Kurio Designs.

Arbor membership is open to season subscribers who donate a minimum of $400 to ASO. Annual dues are currently $175 per person. Eligible prospective members can call Pat Cherico at 512 453-8927 for further information. The next luncheon will be January 7, 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel and will feature guest artist, violinist Jennifer Frautschi.

Endowment Campaign

Endowment Awards

Jennifer Bourianoff String Education Fund

In loving memory of ASO Assistant Concertmaster Jennifer Bourianoff, her family has generously donated her Dutch violin of 1795 and French bows to the Endowment Fund of the Austin Symphony. The proceeds from the auction sale, coupled with a planned gift from her parents, Dr. George and Rev. Linda Bourianoff, enable the Symphony to establish the Jennifer Bourianoff String Education Fund, a fund directed towards educating emerging string players in our community through our Symphony’s education programs. Jennifer performed with the Austin Symphony for over half of her life and was a gifted teacher, passionate about education and helping her students achieve their goals.

The Jonathan L. Sessler, Ph.D. Cello IX Chair

ASO Endowment Chair Linda van Bavel presenting an award to Dr. Jonathan Sessler

Newly appointed member of the ASO Board of Directors, Jonathan L. Sessler, Ph.D. has given a very generous gift to the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment to endow the Cello IX Chair. Dr. Sessler is also a member of the ASO Board Business Gifts Committee. Dr. Sessler is a Professor of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin and is an author, inventor and holds more than 70 U.S. Patents. Cofounder of the biomedical company Pharmacyclics, he has also won numerous awards including being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Memorials and Tributes

Memorials and Tributes have played an important role in growing the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment. All Memorial gifts and gifts honoring individuals for a special event, anniversary, birthday, etc. are placed in the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund. As the principal of the Endowment grows, so does the corresponding annual allocation. A memorial gift or tribute is a gift that will continue to support the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s goals for generations to come. Please send all memorial gifts or honorariums to: Austin Symphony Orchestra, ATTN: Endowment, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701. Please make checks payable to: ASO Endowment Fund.