Liz Adams is the newly elected President of the CSOA Women’s Board. A member since the group’s founding in 2009, she served as co-chair of Symphony Ball in 2013. Liz also currently serves on the Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board. She and her husband Bill, a CSOA trustee, have been CSO donors and subscribers for more than thirty years, and live in Chicago.
What inspired you to join the Women’s Board at the CSO?
The Women’s Board was founded at the same time as Maestro Muti began his tenure with the CSO. I was approached about getting involved with the Women’s Board, and even though I had a pretty full plate at the time, I realized that great things were ahead for the Orchestra and wanted to be a part of it.
Did you grow up in a musical household?
My parents were not musicians, but my siblings and I were all encouraged to study music. We all took piano lessons from an early age, and then segued to another instrument—in my case, the french horn. My dad, in particular, was a big influence in developing a love of classical music. He was an incredible audiophile, with a collection of classical vinyl LP’s, reel-to-reel tapes, and speakers that were like large pieces of furniture. He also introduced us to the thrill of live performance by taking us to the New York Philharmonic Promenades. I’ll never forget the first concert I attended. The orchestra started to play, and it was perfection. I was amazed by the sound.
How have you seen the Women’s Board grow since its founding?
The Women’s Board is still a relatively young organization— especially compared to the Women’s Association that preceded it. A few years ago we developed a strategic plan to define our mission. We are a fundraising board that presents Symphony Ball every year, but the mission has grown to include advocacy for the CSO, community service, and audience building. And we’ve seen some wonderful growth in new, dedicated members.
What are your goals as Women’s Board President?
Finding ways to engage the Women’s Board meaningfully in our mission is one goal. Also, I’d love to see Symphony Ball grow and welcome more people to celebrate with the CSO. It’s so much more than a black tie fundraiser—it’s a real celebration of the Orchestra, the music director, and the people who love it. Finally, I would like to see the board become more involved in the broader fabric of the CSOA family. We were very excited to welcome new CSOA Board President Helen Zell to our January meeting. It’s a great, natural synergy, with Helen being the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees.
Any advice for audience members hoping to become more involved?
I’ve really enjoyed my involvement with the Orchestra and I encourage anyone who loves the Orchestra and loves music to get involved. There are opportunities for everyone to learn about the CSO. Getting a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Orchestra through volunteering or enjoying the benefits of giving can really make you feel connected to the Orchestra and its music.