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Q&A with incoming executive director rachel fine

October 28, 2010

On November 29, 2010, LACO welcomes Rachel Fine as its new executive director. In anticipation of her arrival, we learned more about Rachel’s artistic vision, her interests and some fun facts in the question and answer session below. Enjoy!

What are you most looking forward to about taking on the role of executive director of LACO?

I want to be a part of the energy, creativity and spirit that produced the LACO/Chris Thile concert I attended last season; of creating soul-enriching musical and personal experiences, which are incomparable. And of course, on a fundamental level, I look forward to working collaboratively with Jeffrey Kahane, whom I’ve long admired, as well as LACO’s dedicated Board of Directors, musicians and staff to support the vital mission of the organization, Jeffrey Kahane’s artistic vision and the musicians’ vibrant and important work.

We know that you regard The Kennedy Center’s Michael Kaiser as a great mentor. Which of his philosophies or words of advice do you take to heart most?

“Good Art, Well Marketed.” During his tenure at The Kennedy Center, he has consistently produced exciting, thoughtful, varied and substantive artistic programs and instituted robust marketing and public relations campaigns to build audiences and visibility, as well as raise funds effectively for them. But doing those things well has also required that The Kennedy Center establish and maintain a culture of good planning. He and his team are remarkably good at planning noteworthy artistic programs far in advance and building anticipation for them methodically.

Please tell us about your family.

This year, my husband, Christopher Hawthorne, and I celebrate our tenth anniversary. We were both born and raised in Berkeley, California (although we never knew each other until we met through mutual friends after college). We moved to Los Angeles for his job at the Los Angeles Times, where he has worked as the architecture critic since 2004. We have two spunky daughters, 6 and 16 months, who love music. The older has studied cello since she was four. And the younger has just started group music classes (it’s never too soon!). As Bay Area natives, we never planned to live in Los Angeles; but we’ve come to realize and appreciate that there is no city more exciting and interesting right now in terms of our respective fields and careers. I’m not sure we will ever get used to the traffic, but as long as we have our commuter-mugs filled with Peet’s Coffee (founded in Berkeley) and are tuned in to NPR or KUSC, we’re okay.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I would die happy if I could develop the superpowers to play the cello as beautifully as Jacqueline Du Pré; however, I am a rusty pianist, so I’m not sure I see that happening in the near future.

What is currently playing in your CD player/iPod?

András Schiff’s recording of Schumann’s Kreisleriana; Calder Quartet’s recording of Ravel’s String Quartet in F; a Nick Drake compilation; and Dane Zanes’ ¡Nueva York!

What is your favorite restaurant in Los Angeles?

Chez Panisse. Oh wait. That’s in Berkeley. That’s hard. It changes. Right now? I would have to say Osteria Mozza, but ask me again in a few weeks.

Favorite outdoor activity:

I did a triathlon with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training in 2006 and relished every minute of the training and race. If I had to choose one of the three, I would choose ocean swimming. It’s incredibly liberating.

Where do you call home?

Slowly, but surely, Los Angeles (rather than Berkeley) is becoming our home.

What is your biggest claim to fame?

That’s tough. Memorizing a Bach Fugue, perhaps?

Do you have any pets? If so, please name and describe.

Sadly, we don’t have any pets, unless you count Charlotte, who has designed an elaborate web outside our kitchen window.

When I’m not working, I most enjoy______.

Talking with my husband over coffee or dinner; reading to my daughters; cooking; and being a part of my daughters’ first experiences in music; laughing.

Favorite vacation spot: The Sea Ranch (just south of Mendocino).

I most admire__________.

Alice Waters, JS Bach and Jane Austen are pretty high on my list. My high-school English teacher John Faggi and piano teacher Jennie Windle are also up there. My amazing mother, naturally. My husband is a remarkable writer, highly-involved father and devoted spouse. And, of course, I’ve admired Jeffrey Kahane since I was a budding pianist.

Have any other questions for Rachel? Ask a question in the comment field below!

1 comment

Can't imagine a better daughter-in-law (or a better parent to her children).

  • —Anonymous, October 29, 2010 12:11 pm

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