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Frances Richard
1936 – 2024

and Advisory Board Member of Da Capo


Fran Richard’s contribution to the new music field was immeasurable.  We all know that she and John Duffy founded MEET THE COMPOSER, and made it into an incredible organization with a major impact on the public perception of the role of composers. 


She also advised countless ensembles.  Her advice in the beginning years of the Da Capo Chamber Players helped us understand and expand the perspective of how to realize our goals in the field, and even to understand the larger context of the arts scene.  A short example:  I once arrived in her office for a consultation, bringing a long, carefully worded, detailed description of our goals and plans, intending to send it to potential funders.  And she told me: “People don’t read.“  Duh.  In other meetings, with other members of the group, she had equally incisive observations.  What generosity.  How did she find time to help so many of us?  We all owe her immense and forever gratitude.  Thank you, Fran.


 — Patricia Spencer

Da Capo Chamber Players



André Emelianoff
1942 – 2020

Wonderful personal and musical warmth, humor, constant searching for uplifting musical understanding—these are some of the many traits of André’s that I have valued hugely and feel supremely fortunate to have interacted with, during his 35-year span as cellist with the Da Capo Chamber Players. He and I rehearsed Elliott Carter’s duo, Enchanted Preludes, so deeply that there were spots where I could play my best only in the context of hearing what his part was saying, either with or right before mine.  


In group rehearsals he would often have insights that would cut through a web of obscure attempts to understand the musical intent of the composer. And his “no-fault” rehearsal approach was superb. An early memory: the group needed to tune a spot, and to my amazement he simply said “I can’t find the pitch”. It was such a low-keyed way to focus our attention, without asserting that any one person was either on or off—a small example of a really helpful rehearsal vibe!


André’s inner commitment to making music transcended the emphasis on precision and technical mastery—but he always respected their importance. Once, in a rehearsal years ago, a guest (a singer perhaps—can’t remember who) had made the rest of us quite uptight: some of the rhythms or articulations we wanted to improve were, according to the guest, “small potatoes” and he didn’t want to bother with them. But when André arrived a bit later, and the guest mentioned this to him, André fixed the whole thing by announcing in no uncertain terms and with complete good humor, “That’s me—I’m a ‘small potatoes’ man!”  


Da Capo’s identity has of course always been tied to our work with today’s composers, and André’s input in that area was significant and seminal. Every composer who wrote for us (more than 100 during that time) knew that André’s exciting musical insight would be contributing to the premiere and subsequent performances of the piece. André also led the way to wonderful interactions with George Perle, Chinary Ung, Alla Borzova, and David Sanford (to mention just a few!)  Most recently, Joan Tower’s Looking Back (2018), commissioned by Da Capo for her 80th year (a major new work for a major occasion), was dedicated to André.


André Emelianoff’s extraordinary musical thinking and the love we feel for him will live on in Da Capo, in myself, and in the many students and colleagues he has touched.  

  — Patricia Spencer









1 – Da Capo in 2008: Patricia Spencer, flute; Meighan Stoops, clarinet; Blair McMillan, piano; Curtis Macomber, violin; André Emelianoff, celloPhoto © Peter Schaaf

2 – André Emelianoff and Joan Tower, accepting applause after performance at the Century Club. 

3 – Da Capo Chamber Players performing at Gracie Mansion in the late 1970's.  L to R:  Joel Lester, Patricia Spencer, Joan Tower, Laura Flax, André Emelianoff.  


4 – André Emelianoff, Patricia Spencer, Laura Flax (seated), Joel Lester, Joan Tower. 

Lynda L. Ciolek

1952 – 2020

We are saddened to learn from alumnus Michael Philip Davis of the passing of fellow alumna Lynda Ciolek (MM ’76, voice).


Michael writes:

"Lynda L. Ciolek died of natural causes in her New York home on May 30, 2020, three weeks shy of her 68th birthday. She had been in declining health.


An only child, she was born and raised in Chicago. Lynda brought her ample mezzo-soprano to MSM in 1974 after getting her undergraduate degree at Indiana University. At MSM she studied voice with Ellen Faull and coached opera with then-MSM President George Schick. In 1976 she was memorable as the gossipy Mrs. Jones in the historic MSM production of Street Scene, conducted by Maestro Anton Coppola (MSM '63), who died in March.


Because of health considerations, Lynda curtailed her singing career in the 1970s and founded STEORRA Enterprises, the Public Relations/Advertising Consulting firm that she led for more than 40 years until her death. Her clients included the Cassatt Quartet and the late Jean Redpath.

Lynda was the most devoted and incisive friend, blessed with integrity and moral rectitude in her personal and professional life. She brought radiant light into the world."

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