Catherine Lansdowne as the Abilene Philharmonic’s new executive director.
The Abilene Philharmonic Association is proud to announce the appointment of Catherine Lansdowne as Executive Director. Lansdowne arrives at the Philharmonic from the Smithsonian Institution’s fundraising office, where she served as project manager and writer/editor since 2005. Of the appointment, Lansdowne commented, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Abilene Philharmonic and I feel extremely honored to have been chosen to lead the organization during the coming years. I look forward to working with the musicians, the board and staff to continue setting new artistic standards while ensuring a bright and vibrant future for this unique orchestra.”
Jon Thorne, President of the Board of Governors of the Association, said of Lansdowne’s appointment, “Catherine is an experienced professional who brings to the orchestra a host of new exciting ideas from the perspective of a person who is familiar with all phases of the professional orchestra world. Her love of symphonic music together with her enthusiasm creates a package of exciting ideas to build on for the coming seasons. And let me add, she is not a stranger to our orchestra. Her first acquaintance with the Abilene Philharmonic was when she played in a concert here under the direction Maestro Shinik Hahm, in 1994!”
The Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Abilene’s oldest performing arts organizations. Its history traces back to September 1950, when community supporters organized a musical group called the Abilene Symphony Orchestra. Over the last 63 years, it has grown to a professional orchestra with seven concerts each year. Its growth has also included adding the annual Discover Music Series for students in grades three through five. They experience a symphonic music program created just for them! The Young Artist Scholarship Competition was established in 2008 to help support outstanding young musicians in the Abilene area.
Born and raised in a home that encouraged the arts, Catherine spent her childhood enjoying dance, playing the oboe, and performing in theatre productions. In the end, it was music that fueled her passion and became her career goal.
She attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music and earned her bachelors in Music. Playing for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the Midland/Odessa Symphony enabled her to share her music passion from the stage with others. Catherine said she soon discovered she wanted to be able to further share her passion with audiences without being set apart by a stage. This realization led her to obtain her Masters in Arts Administration from Indiana University.
She has served in various capacities with arts organizations both nationally and internationally. Her expertise includes enhancing organizational capacities and resources, and developing effective staff and volunteer teams. She has served in marketing and communications capacities with various orchestras, most recently with the National Philharmonic. She has extensive writing and editing experience with arts institutions including the Smithsonian Institution and the Kuala Lumpur American Magazine.
Lansdowne said, “ The orchestra is blessed to have two supporting organizations, the Philharmonic Guild and the Philharmonic Foundation. I have worked with or performed with numerous orchestras and very few have this level of support.” Dana Endsley, President of the Philharmonic Guild noted, “Lansdowne’s ideas are fresh, fun, and exciting. She understands collaboration with support entities such as the Guild. We are looking forward to working with Catherine to achieve the goal of bringing great music to Abilene.” The Guild functions to raise money for the Association and work in partnership to meet the goals of the organizations.
Lansdowne is looking forward to her first season with the orchestra. She shared that this year the audience will enjoy music from a variety of genres. Great classical composers will be heard such as Beethoven and Mozart. The Mozart piece will be performed by Abilene’s own Halle Puckett, winner of the 2012 Young Artist Scholarship Competition. The season will also include a Jazz concert, a performance by the combined Abilene University choirs, the always favorite Holiday Pops concert, and a program featuring the magic of Disney.
For ticket information contact The Abilene Philharmonic Association 677.6710.