The first woman to head Chicago Symphony in 125 yearsmain
Like Julius Caesar in another context, Helen Zell thrice refused the crown.
She never wanted to be chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But the pressure was on and when she accepted, writes Shia Kapos in a fascinating profile, ‘a barely audible “Yes!” went up from a half-dozen women at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s annual meeting.’
So what do we know about the new chair?
She plays her piano every day, a Fazioli.
She’s married to real-estate developer Sam Zell.
And together they gave $17 million to the orchestra last year.
Shia writes: Zell takes the helm as the CSO tackles a $5 million drop in total operating revenue, to $71.4 million from $76.6 million last year, in part due to a dip in fundraising.
“Ticket sales only cover about 40 percent of what it costs to operate the organization. That’s why we have to raise so much. It’s real simple,” she says.
Read Shia’s full article right here.
Photo by Erik Unger