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Philadelphia Orchestra presents 2012 Kuhn Award to violinist Barbara Govatos

May 29, 2012

Volunteer Committees honor cellist Ohad Bar-David and bassist Robert Kesselman on their 25th anniversaries

Association honors Volunteer Committees President Sally Bullard in recognition of her service to The Philadelphia Orchestra

(Philadelphia, May 29, 2012)—At a special ceremony during its evening subscription concert on Thursday, May 17, 2012, The Philadelphia Orchestra Association presented the C. Hartman Kuhn Award to Barbara Govatos, a violinist with the Orchestra since 1982. Philadelphia Orchestra Association Board Chairman Richard B. Worley presented the Award.

In addition, Volunteer Committees President Sally Bullard presented Ohad Bar-David, cello, and Robert Kesselman, bass, with certificates recognizing their 25 years of service. Historically musicians who reach this milestone receive a watch from the Volunteer Committees. However this year both Bar-David and Kesselman opted to donate the cost of the watch instead to the Philadelphia Orchestra Retirees & Friends Association. Concertmaster David Kim presented Ms. Bullard with an Orchestra portrait signed by all its musicians to commemorate her tenure as Volunteer Committees president, which concludes in August.

The C. Hartman Kuhn Award, established in 1941 and named for a charter member of the Board of Directors who served from 1901 to 1933, is given annually to “the member of The Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standard and the reputation of The Philadelphia Orchestra.”

Violinist Barbara Govatos has been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1982. She has provided unflagging support to The Philadelphia Orchestra, bringing a positive spirit to her work with staff, Board members, fellow musicians, or volunteers. She has been a tireless advocate for patrons and also actively works with the Association’s development department, having helped organize the 2011 Perfect Harmony fundraising event. She has served on the Orchestra’s Marketing Committee, Education and Community Partnerships Committee, and the New Hall Committee.

Ms. Govatos received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Ivan Galamian. While there she won the G.B. Dealey International Competition in Dallas, the Charles Petschek Scholarship, and the Austrian American Society’s scholarship for study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Her initial studies were with Sabina K. Girvan and Jascha Brodsky, and she was mentored by chamber music greats Felix Galimir, Pina Carmirelli, Josef Gingold, Robert Mann, and Mischa Schneider.

Ms. Govatos serves on the advisory board of Astral Artists, an organization that promotes, presents, and advises talented young artists, and the Music School of Delaware, where she received the first Distinguished Alumni Award. As music director of the Academy Chamber Players, Ms. Govatos founded the HOME-AID concerts, which raised over $130,000 to benefit organizations that help the homeless in Philadelphia. Her article on chamber music and its importance in the lives of orchestral musicians was published in Symphony magazine in July 2004. Since 2005 she has been a faculty member for the Orchestra Leadership Academy seminar for the League of American Orchestras. Ms. Govatos teaches privately and lives in Philadelphia with her son, Minh.

The Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra honored Ohad Bar-David, cello, and Robert Kesselman, bass, for their 25 years of service to the Orchestra. Since 1928 the Volunteer Committees have funded and presented watches to musicians who are completing their 25th year of service. However this year both Bar-David and Kesselman opted to donate the cost of the watch instead to the Philadelphia Orchestra Retirees & Friends Association.

Ohad Bar-David began his cello studies at age seven with Uzi Wiesel in Tel-Aviv, through funding from the American Israel Cultural Foundation. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School with Leonard Rose and later studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolf. In 1976 he won the International Villa Lobos Competition in Brazil. He was principal cello in the International Youth Orchestra, at Juilliard, in the National Orchestra of New York, and with American Ballet Theatre. In addition he served on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival.

Inspired by visits to Arab, Jewish, and Buddhist villages, Mr. Bar-David became the founder, president, and artistic director of Intercultural Journeys in 2003. A non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, Intercultural Journeys is committed to presenting performances, conferences, master classes, and lectures around the world that provide opportunities for musical dialogue and understanding among a variety of cultural traditions

Mr. Bar-David’s most recent CD, Beyond Borders, features a cello choir recorded on multiple tracks by him and improvisations based on the music from the Middle East and American Spirituals.

Robert Kesselman, a native Philadelphian, attended Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1980 he won a section bass position with the Pittsburgh Symphony, where he remained until 1987. Mr. Kesselman had always dreamed of playing in The Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 1987 he was accepted into the bass section. When he is not playing in the Orchestra, he enjoys teaching, solo playing, and performing chamber music. He was formerly on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and currently teaches at Temple University.

Sally Bullard began a three-year term as Volunteer Committees president with the 2009-10 season. A longtime supporter of the Orchestra, her husband, Roland K. Bullard, also previously served as a member and vice-chairman of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association Board of Directors. The Bullards reside in Center City Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of “firsts” in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as the Orchestra’s current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. In the 2012-13 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music and into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Orchestra also performs for Philadelphia audiences at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Penn’s Landing, and other regional venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music—a National Historic Landmark—as it has since 1957.

The ensemble maintains an important tradition of presenting educational programs for local audiences as well. Today the Orchestra executes myriad education and community partnership programs, notably its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, eZseatU, and more.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra touches the lives of countless music lovers around the world. The Orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. 

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org. 

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