Barry Tuckwell muses on founding of Maryland Symphony Orchestra

September 21, 2011|By KATE COLEMAN |

Barry Tuckwell, founding music director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, recalls an afternoon conversation with Frances Machen in the spring of 1981. Machen, a local music lover who died last year, had earlier asked the world-renowned French horn virtuoso about leading a symphony orchestra in Hagerstown.

  "In two hours we conceived the orchestra," he wrote in an email from his native Australia. "A few months later the orchestra was born," he added. Tuckwell led the MSO for 16 years.

Tuckwell lives in Australia where he teaches a few selected students and is artistic adviser to a community symphony orchestra in Melbourne. Since 2010, he's visited the United States every summer to host the Barry Tuckwell Institute for horn players.

"I am very proud to have been the founding music director of the MSO," Tuckwell wrote.

In 1999, Elizabeth Schulze was appointed music director of the MSO — from among more than 250 candidates in the national search. At the press conference announcing her selection, Schulze said she was "Absolutely ecstatic. 'Oh, boy!' Jumping-up-and-down excited" when she learned the news.

Committed to the community and the orchestra, Schulze moved to Washington County a few months later.

She's still here.

And so is the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

"Long may the MSO continue," Tuckwell wrote.

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