Home is where the music is
For Chris Pell, it doesn’t matter where he goes, music is his home.
From the moment he picked up a clarinet in the fourth grade, he knew and, as he moved to unknown cities for musical opportunities, the feeling grew.
“I knew, even from fourth grade, that I wanted to be where I am now,” said Pell, who is still in his 20s and is the clarinetist in Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. At age 21, he became the principal clarinetist for the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra.
“I really loved being in New Orleans, although professionally it isn’t where I saw myself ending up,” he said. “While there, I learned to enjoy where you live, but keep your goals in mind.”
When he moved to Cincinnati, he knew very little about the city. “I didn’t know anything about it, other than what I learned during my auditions,” he said. “But there’s extremely strong support of the arts. I feel very lucky to be here."
As an attendee of Juilliard’s pre-college program, he learned about Luzerne Music Center. He attended in 2005 and his commitment to a life of music was solidified as he sat on a piano bench in camp founder and then-director Toby Blumenthal’s house.
“Being able to get that positive reinforcement from someone like Toby was great training for me,” he said. “It stuck with me for a lot of years.”
He went on to attend Interlochen, Tanglewood and Juilliard, but holds on to his fond memories of Luzerne Music Center.
“I remember having a lot of fun, and going to master classes and rehearsal, but still going to the lake and being a teenager, while gearing everything toward a professional life and being good at something,” he said.
As Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. economist, Ellen Zentner has been named to Bloomberg Best list of top forecasters and is one of the nation’s most highly regarded markets experts. But when she smells pine trees, she’s a 13-year-old girl again, giggling with cabin mates at Luzerne Music Center, where she learned to tease her hair with AquaNet and the timeless hipness of Doc Martens.
“Showing up to school the first day in Texas, and I had a pair of Doc Martens and my hair was sprayed up like crazy and people were like, ‘Oh my God, what have you done?’” Zentner recalled.
Zentner attend Luzerne Music Center before her cousins, LMC CEO and Artistic Director Elizabeth Pitcairn and her brother, David. When they went a few summers after Zentner, she was flattered.
“I was quite honored my illustrious cousin ended up going to the same camp as me,” she laughed in a recent interview — a rare few
minutes of downtime snuck into a tightly packed schedule.
Zentner, Morgan Stanley's first
female chief economist in the U.S., recently won a second Lawrence R. Klein Award, regarded as one of the best-known and longest-standing achievements in the field. Zentner joins four economists who have won the award twice in the more than 40 years of forecast accuracy winners.
Zentner played the oboe growing up in Texas, but her school didn’t have
a full orchestra. She returned
from her first summer at Luzerne Music Center, intent on getting serious about the instrument.
“Luzerne was the heaviest,” she said. “I did a little bit of the city youth orchestra, but it just wasn’t the right place for a woodwind,
so I was in band, but it’s just not
the same as being in a full orchestra. It’s just not as
The Ahn Piano Trio
Zlatomir Fung, The Juilliard School under
the tutelage of Richard Aaron and
Beth Graham, horn, Baltimore Symphony,
Jennifer Haas, first violin,
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Sylvia Kim, principal second,
Christopher Pell, principal clarinet,
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Elizabeth Pitcairn, violin soloist
Gareth Zehngut, viola, Minnesota Orchestra
Glen Inanga, pianist,
Cayman Arts Festival co-founder