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 History

Acclaimed Guest Artists

The Ahn Trio

Lamar Alsop, violinist

Luis Biava, conductor

Chris Brubeck, jazz musician

Calder Quartet

Canadian Brass, brass quintet

Norman Carol, violinist

Sarah Chang, violinist

Che-Hung Chen, violist

Claremont Trio

The Corigliano Quartet, string quartet

Dennis Russell Davies, conductor

Arturo Delmoni, violinist

Gloria DePasquale, cellist

Igudesman and Joo, duo

Imani Winds

Benny Kim, violinist

The Lionsgate Trio, piano trio

Robert Lipsett, violinist

The Low Brass Project

Michelle Kim, violinist

Midori, violinist

The Miró Quartet, string quartet

Ricardo Morales, clarinetist

Riccardo Muti, conductor

New Orford Quartet

Oenso String Quartet

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Time for Three, string trio

Triple Play

The Ying Quartet, string quartet

Frederick Zlotkin, cellist

NotableAlumni

The Ahn Trio

Beth Graham, horn,

    Warsaw Philharmonic

Jennifer Haas, violin,
    The Philadelphia Orchestra

Christopher Pell, clarinet, 
    Louisiana Philharmonic

Elizabeth Pitcairn, violin soloist

Gareth Zehngut, viola,

    Minnesota Orchestra

Glen Inanga, pianist,
    Cayman Arts Festival co-founder

Distinguished Guest Composers

Founded in 1980 by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Bert Phillips and Steinway pianist Toby Blumenthal, Luzerne Music Center has always had a mission to provide world-class musical instruction for gifted young musicians in a summer camp environment regardless of their financial circumstance.

Masterclass by Philadelphia Orchestra musician

The idea of starting LMC began when founders Bert and Toby toured many of the lakes in the area looking for a summer home while Bert was in residency in Saratoga Springs with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Eventually, they settled in Lake Luzerne because Bert believed it had the charm of Wisconsin where he grew up. While he was taking a year off from the orchestra, they heard that the site of former Camp Tekakwitha was for sale. Bert was already thinking about how to do more for the community and give back, so they purchased the 20 wooded acres where LMC now sits, on the shore of Lake Luzerne. They worked tirelessly to get camp off the ground, buying chairs and tables at church garage sales, anything that they could find and bringing it all up to camp in their family station wagon.

Dining hall bell and Luzerne Music Center sign

LMC was a labor of love for Bert and Toby, and they quickly got their friends and colleagues on board. Faculty members were originally comprised of members of the Albany Symphony and they would ask colleagues in the Philadelphia Orchestra to come over and give masterclasses. World-renowned guest artists, composers and conductors came to meet and work with students at camp, including George Crumb, Norman Carol, LaMar Alsop and Ricardo Muti. Ties with the Philadelphia Orchestra were strong for LMC, a relationship that continues today with our students hearing the orchestra perform live at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and our week-long Philadelphia Orchestra Masterclass Residency.

Masterclass by Philadelphia Orchestra musician, Blair Bollinger

In the early years, Elizabeth Pitcairn, our now CEO and Artistic Director, attended camp as a student from the Philadelphia area. She formed lifelong friendships, performed in the community and showed much promise that Bert and Toby saw early on. In 2008, Bert asked Elizabeth to consider becoming his successor, just before his passing from a long illness. Elizabeth began by joining the board in 2009, in 2010 she was appointed Artistic Director and in 2012 Toby passed on the torch and she was appointed as LMC's President and CEO. Through her travels as a violin soloist, Elizabeth continues to connect students and patrons around the world with LMC’s mission and maintain relations with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Two violinists during orchestra rehearsal

Throughout the years, LMC has grown a global presence and welcomed thousands of students to our home at the foothills of the Adirondacks. With a newly transformed campus in 2021, it is exciting to see the growth and momentum of LMC. We continue to work to provide an enriching experience for every student each summer, all while staying true to Bert and Toby’s vision from the very start of LMC’s history.