FROM LEFT: Paula Zahn; the New York City Opera's Fall 2006 Gala
My lifelong love of music began when I started playing the cello as a young girl growing up in Ohio and Illinois. My mother, who was a serious pianist, encouraged my siblings and me to choose an instrument early in life and fi lled our house with music. Eventually I got a cello scholarship to Stephens College in Missouri, where I ultimately studied journalism.
Throughout my career, music has always been close at hand, and I’ve had the privilege of performing with many wonderful civic orchestras in the cities where I’ve worked as a journalist. From Seoul, South Korea, to Russia and even Carnegie Hall, it’s been my honor to meet and perform with artists from around the world.
In 2006 I was delighted to be honored by the New York City Opera at its Fall Gala, where I experienced fi rsthand its astonishing roster of talent.
Founded by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in 1943, the New York City Opera has been a vital part of New York City life for more than 65 years. Inspired by his passionate love for music and opera, La Guardia envisioned that the New York City Opera could become our country’s premier venue for American opera, at prices that were affordable to all. The company’s success was to surpass his wildest expectations, helping launch the careers of such great singers as Beverly Sills, Plácido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes, and such notable composers as Carlisle Floyd and Aaron Copland, whose work first appeared on its stages.
This November marks the beginning of a thrilling new era for the New York City Opera when it reopens its renovated home—the David H. Koch Theater—and celebrates the arrival of its new general manager and artistic director, George Steel. The gala celebration concert on Thursday, November 5, will feature some of today’s most gifted opera and musicaltheater stars in an all-American program. I am certain this gala evening would make the former mayor proud.
I recently had the opportunity to interview George Steel for the Sunday Arts program I host on WNET. org/Thirteen and was deeply impressed by his passion for bringing the drama and excitement of opera to the entire New York community. The 2009–2010 season promises to be an exciting one under his leadership.
In New York there are so many charities and organizations worthy of our support. I personally know the transformative power of music and I am proud to live in a city that supports American artists with the fervor and creativity of an organization like the New York City Opera. I hope you will join me in supporting this wonderful company on this very special evening. For tickets to the New York City Opera’s Theater Debut Celebration honoring David H. Koch, call the New York City Opera Special Events Department at 212-870-5595 or visit nycopera.com.