Lynne Turner joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1962, shortly after becoming the first American to win first prize in Israel’s International Harp Competition. Born in Saint Louis, she came to Chicago at the age of 4 and started piano lessons with her mother, Evelyn, at the age of 8. Her father, Sol Turner, was a member of the first violin section of the Orchestra for 20 years. When she was 10, he introduced her to the harp, which became her chosen instrument. Turner studied with Alberto Salvi in Chicago and with Pierre Jamet at the Paris Conservatory; she graduated with highest honors, earning the première prix, première nommée, hors concours.
After completing her studies in Paris, Turner auditioned for CSO music director Fritz Reiner; she was 21 years old when she joined the Orchestra, the youngest musician in a major American orchestra at that time. In subsequent years, she has appeared with orchestras throughout the world, has participated in numerous chamber music series, and she has served as acting principal harp of the CSO.
She has been on the faculties of DePaul University and Lake Forest College and currently teaches privately. Lynne was chosen as one of 12 judges for the 17th International Harp Competition, held in Israel in October 2009; Maestro Zubin Mehta serves as president of the competition. In celebration of Israel’s 50th anniversary, Turner performed at a gala concert in Jerusalem featuring first-prize winners of the Israel contest—a distinguished group representing Australia, France, Italy, Japan and Romania, as well as the U.S. The performances at this event are featured in The Harps of Jerusalem: An International Celebration, a forthcoming documentary produced by her son Bennett, who has made a number of award-winning films for PBS. (He is currently at work on Electoral Dysfunction, a feature-length documentary, hosted by Daily Show veteran Mo Rocca, which takes an irreverent look at voting in America.) Other artists in Lynne’s family include her daughter Rachel, a photo stylist and interior decorator based in New York, and her brother Richard, principal harp of the Winnipeg Symphony.
A gourmet cook extraordinaire, Turner says that in addition to music, “creating beautiful food in a stylish setting is an art form I greatly enjoy.” She is married to Dr. Albert Tennenbaum, an ophthalmologist, who shares her passion for classical music, traveling, gardening, photography and bringing together friends for dinner parties.
Turner is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in Entertainment, among other publications.