Lawrence Golan: York's generosity helps city growthGolan is the music director for the York Symphony Orchestra
Here's a conversation with Lawrence Golan.
Q: You have helped elevate the orchestra from both an artistic and business standpoint. How do you balance both?
A: I think the most important thing is for me to know where my focus is, and that is to curate the organization from an artistic standpoint. On the business side it’s more at the macro level, the big picture. One of the first things we did when the opportunity arose was to create a full-time executive director position to handle the nitty-gritty daily business of the organization. From there we have worked at building the staff and putting people in those positions to operate professionally.
What characteristics have made York County culture what it is today?
One thing I noticed right away when I came to York was almost an uncanny sense of municipal pride among citizens, specifically ones that are from here and have been here for many generations. That has manifested in the cultural scene. They’re very proud York has a symphony orchestra, and they should be. A city of this size, to have a professional symphony orchestra is definitely a feather in the cap.
I work in many different places and in every city, there’s always a handful of people that are extremely generous, and you see their names on the concert hall, the museum, the library, because they make the city what it is. York is no exception, but I’d say there is more than a handful making the city and the cultural scene what it is.
How can a strong artistic community enhance the business community?
Whenever any performing arts organization, especially in the downtown area, has an event, that attracts hundreds or thousands downtown. They park, they eat at a restaurant, after concerts go for a drink or dessert. When we bring guest artists to town, they stay at hotels, they take taxis or Uber, they eat or drink as well. We generate a lot of actual business.
It is not uncommon for local businesses to need to recruit nationally. When one is trying to attract and recruit people to a town, especially a smaller town that doesn’t have the obvious allure of a New York or Los Angeles, there are certain characteristics a business can tout. The symphony orchestra is the pinnacle of that and the figurehead of a strong arts community. You don’t have to drive to Philly or Baltimore to get your cultural fix.
Who is your favorite artist you have worked with?
I had the opportunity to play in an orchestra with Leonard Bernstein. We toured all over Europe, played the major concert halls of London, Paris, Moscow, Berlin. It’s such an amazing experience to work and play with someone who is literally a legend in his own time. Frank Sinatra was equally an absolute legend. It was just a thrill to tour with him.
About Lawrence Golan
Lawrence Golan, 51, is entering his fifth season as music director of the York Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as music director of the Yakima (Washington) Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Philharmonic, and the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre at the University of Denver. He leads the graduate conducting program at the University of Delaware and is an accomplished violinist.
Golan has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in both conducting and violin performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and a doctorate in musical arts from the New England Conservatory of Music.
He makes his home in Denver along with his wife, Cecilia, and their children, Giovanna and Joseph.