In my desire to become a member of the Theodore Thomas Society, I have made the Chicago Symphony Orchestra a beneficiary of my 401k.
Although I am a long-time resident of the Pacific Northwest, I grew up in the Chicago area. My paternal grandfather was a passionate lover of symphonic music. Instead of toys, he gave me some Beethoven records at age 4. He took me to my first concert at age 5 and gave me a violin at 6. Later, I joined the high school orchestra where I played that violin. When I was 13, our music director took the violinists to a CSO concert where we met Maestro Fritz Reiner. That concert and personal interaction left an indelible mark on my life. However daunting the great maestro was with musicians, he was kind and soft-spoken, encouraging us to continue our studies and make music a part of our lives.
Maestro Muti not only continues the grand tradition of the CSO but is committed and dedicated to bringing music “to the people.” I am constantly dismayed by the diminishing music curricula in schools and convinced that music outreach programs are absolutely necessary. These factors have convinced me that the Orchestra should be the focus of any legacy I leave behind. Never has it been more important to preserve this wonderful cultural gift that is an antidote for all the world’s ills. Wherever I’ve been fortunate to live, work or travel, my life has been blessed and made more meaningful through classical music. This rich cultural heritage can shape hearts and minds into a noble bond. I’d like to pass on in a small way what my grandfather and the CSO outreach programs gave me.