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Linda and David Glickstein: In the Spotlight

February 01, 2016

A Monthly Profile of Orchestra Fans and Family

Linda Glickstein’s family lineage with The Philadelphia Orchestra goes all the way back to Leopold Stokowski—her parents, who met in Philadelphia, regularly attended concerts in the ’30s with the legendary music director—but that’s not what she and her husband, David, want to talk about. “We’ve got better stories coming!” he promises.

Subscribers and donors for 45 years, the Glicksteins are much more passionate about the present-day Orchestra, specifically the present-day Orchestra musicians. And they’re especially interested in getting the word out about all the good works the members do offstage.

“The stories are amazing,” says Linda. “There’s a lot of generosity out there.”

“We began to realize how much these musicians do for the community outside their regular work,” says David. “A lot of them are very modest. They just do it. That, I think, is one of the greatest joys that we have and we wish somehow it could be out there more.”

Examples abound, says the couple, pointing to Intercultural Journeys, a non-profit created by cellist Ohad Bar-David and others, and the Philadelphia School District’s All-City High School Orchestra, which Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi led for a decade, recently passing the baton to Orchestra colleague Assistant Principal Bass Joseph Conyers. The Glicksteins are big fans and supporters of both organizations, in part because of their relationships with the musicians, a number of whom they got to know during the making of Music from the Inside Out, the critically acclaimed 2004 documentary about Philadelphia Orchestra musicians—and the magic of music. The Glicksteins were supporters of that project as well and say if you haven’t seen the film, check it out: It’s a fascinating introduction to the personalities behind the performances.

“Stories like this are ones that you would never have an opportunity to hear. All these stories are what humanize the Orchestra members,” says Linda. “Obviously they play together—which is what an orchestra is—but they all have different backgrounds and I think getting to know the players that you see on stage adds another layer of interest.”

Originally from Connecticut, the Glicksteins have been Philadelphia residents for over four decades. “As soon as we moved to Philadelphia, the first thing we did—we went and got a subscription to The Philadelphia Orchestra,” says David. “That was in 1970. That was it!”

“At that point it was very hard to get subscriptions,” adds Linda.

“We also lucked out in that they added Tuesday night subscriptions when we came,” says David. “So we’ve been going every year since 1970. We have not missed a year.”

Inveterate travelers—they’ve published seven guidebooks with St. Martin’s Press and for 25 years wrote a newsletter, “The Discerning Traveler,” covering the East Coast of the United States and Canada—the Glicksteins have also had the opportunity to travel with the Orchestra, most recently on the European tour last spring, but they’ve also been to China, Japan, and South America. It was during that first trip to China and Japan in 2001 that they started to build their relationships.

“We were staying at the same hotel as the Orchestra members and we were hanging out in the lobby and one of them said, well, should we get a bite to eat,” Linda remembers. “And that I think was the very beginning of getting to know the musicians not just as these images—playing fabulous, in tuxedos, sitting on the stage—but getting to know them individually as players.”

David estimates the couple attends some 200 performances a year—not just the Orchestra, but opera, ballet, and theater as well.

“We’re not just music fans,” he says.

“We’re culture fans,” says Linda.

When possible, they also try to hear Orchestra musicians outside of their concerts in Verizon Hall. Violinist Jason DePue, for example, plays bluegrass with his three violinist brothers as the Depue Brothers Band (which also features Liuzzi on drums and vocals). It’s interactions like these “you wish everybody that went to the Orchestra experienced,” says David.

Want to get to know the Orchestra better? The Glicksteins suggest staying for Yannick’s post-concert chats when he conducts.

“They’re amazingly informative,” says David.

And watch Music from the Inside Out—which is now available digitally on iTunes as well as on DVD. See a preview here.