Orlando Philharmonic presents Distinguished Service Award

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John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award recipients Lynn and Charles Steinmetz.

Next month, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will present its second ever John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award to longtime orchestra supporters Lynn and Charles Steinmetz. Charles and his late wife, Lynn, who passed away on October 1, were well known for their support of the orchestra and of the Central Florida arts community.  Steinmetz and his granddaughter, Kayla, will accept the award at the Philharmonic’s November 17 concert

“The Orlando Philharmonic is deeply proud to honor the life and legacy of Lynn, and her husband Chuck, with the John Blackburn Distinguished Service award,” said Executive Director David Schillhammer. “For over 40 years together, Lynn and Chuck passionately supported many deserving non-profits in the Central Florida region.  But it was Lynn's commitment to the Orlando Philharmonic during the past 20 years that makes this award so special.  It is safe to say, that without Lynn and Chuck's philanthropy of endowing the Concertmaster Chair, the first such gift in our history, we would not be the organization we are today.  And Lynn's multi-decade service as a board member transformed the orchestra.   We are deeply honored to bestow this award, commemorating their love of music, and honoring the life and legacy of our cherished friend and inspiration, Lynn.”

“We are deeply moved and honored to receive this award, and were so happy when it was announced” said Steinmetz. “Our commitment and devotion to the Philharmonic will continue  as it would have been Lynn's most fervent wish.”

The orchestra’s November 17 concert opens with the world premiere of “Into Light,” a new work by Composer Stella Sung, commissioned in honor of the Steinmetzs. The concert continues with a heroic theme, featuring Elgar’s Enigma Variations, written in honor of the composer’s closest friends; and Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto, performed by Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman.

The Blackburn Distinguished Service Award was created in remembrance of volunteer finance director and treasurer John O. Blackburn, who served the orchestra from 1993 until 2006.  The award is not presented annually, but be presented on the occasion that the board deems someone is deserving of the honor. The recipient of the John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award must exemplify the following criteria, all of which Blackburn demonstrated: 1) a passion for orchestral music; 2) longevity of service; 3) commitment to financial stewardship; 4) a legacy of endowment building. This is the second time the award has been given. The award was presented for the first time in 2011, to Board member and community volunteer Carol Stanley Fenner.

John O. Blackburn, who held a doctorate in economics, spent the majority of his career as professor of economics at Duke University, later serving as provost and then as chancellor. He then brought his financial principles to the Philharmonic.  Using the solid foundation of fiscal prudence established by Blackburn, the orchestra has remained in the black every year for its entire 19-year existence.

Now celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season, the Orlando Philharmonic is Central Florida’s resident professional orchestra, appearing in over 125 performances each year. The orchestra offers a variety of programs, from classical and pops concerts to chamber music, staged musicals and opera productions. Education programs and community concerts are also a core part of the Philharmonic’s programming. Concert schedule and information at www.OrlandoPhil.org.