“For 40 years, through five music directors and 47 tours, Patricia O’Kelly, 63, was a stalwart of the National Symphony Orchestra as the orchestra’s head of publicity,” writes Anne Midgette in Friday’s (4/15) Washington Post. O’Kelly, who retired as managing director of media relations April 8, “was the NSO’s institutional memory, adept at stamping out media fires before they got out of hand and always called on to do the countless thankless tasks … All that prepared her for her job was a passionate love of music.” O’Kelly studied clarinet in college and musicology at the University of Maryland, where as a member of the chorus she performed with the NSO. O’Kelly “stressed that ‘every music director I’ve worked with has brought something unique that has added to the orchestra. Dorati instilled in them a sense of pride and accomplishment. [Mstislav] Rostropovich brought unparalleled excitement. Leonard [Slatkin] brought a sound foundation of conducting technique and also a focus on American music. Then [Iván] Fischer and [Christoph] Eschenbach [brought a] renewed focus on the standard repertory.’ … And after so many concert and so much music, how does she feel about orchestral music? ‘I can’t live without it,’ O’Kelly says.”

Posted April 18, 2016