Don Roberts

What inspires your love of music?

My mother was a piano teacher who gave lessons in our home, so music has been a part of my life from an early age. In the fifth grade, I started playing bassoon, which led to wonderful musical experiences at Interlochen, the Curtis Institute of Music and in various ensembles. Throughout my career as a music librarian, professor of music and ethnomusicologist, I have had the joy of following and being involved in many aspects of music. Music is essential to my existence.

What initially drew you to the CSO?

Other than listening to CSO recordings, my first direct contact with the Orchestra was when the Chicago Symphony Woodwind Quintet (Ralph Johnson, flute; Robert Mayer, oboe; Jerome Stowell, clarinet; Philip Farkas, horn; Wilbur Simpson, bassoon) performed at my high school in Wichita, Kansas, and I had a lesson with Wilbur Simpson. When I joined the Northwestern University faculty in 1969, the CSO Thursday concerts became the focal point of our lives, and many of the musicians became colleagues and friends. 1969 was an exciting time for the CSO and its followers, as it was the beginning of the Solti era. I fondly recollect attending the CSO’s first European concerts (Edinburgh, 1971) and enjoying the amazement of festival concert attendees that an American orchestra could be that good.

Why do you feel it’s important to support the CSOA as a member of the Theodore Thomas Society?

Music and all the arts are fundamental cornerstones of human life. It is extremely important that significant organizations such as the CSO have adequate funding to ensure that their impact will continue to enrich society in the future.

Tom Hall
Theodore Thomas Society member
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Richard and Elynne Aleskow
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Drs. James and Mary Houston
Theodore Thomas Society members
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