The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association is pleased to announce a major new gift commitment from longtime CSOA supporters Dora and John Aalbregtse, which will endow the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Piccolo Chair, currently held by Jennifer M. Gunn. The gift will establish The Dora and John Aalbregtse Piccolo Chair and is part of the CSOA’s Sempre: Always campaign, launched in 2020 to secure financial resources advancing the CSO’s role as a cultural icon in terms of musical brilliance, leadership and innovation.
“After our many years of connection to the CSOA family and the musicians of the Orchestra, we were honored to have an opportunity to make this special gift,” said the Aalbregtses. “The artistry of musicians like Jennifer Gunn, whose performances on the piccolo delight audiences in our city and around the world, make it a special privilege for us to support the CSO in this way.”
“This gift from Dora and John Aalbregtse shows tremendous dedication to the artistic legacy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” Gunn said. “Their generosity allows us to connect with audiences in Chicago and around the world in meaningful ways. It is very special to me to have spent time with John and Dora on many occasions, both in Chicago and on many CSO tours. I am incredibly honored that they have chosen the Piccolo Chair to endow, and I am confident that the CSO will prosper for generations to come with the support of our many loyal donors.”
The Aalbregtses, who have been subscribers for 26 years, attending both Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Center Presents Piano series, also have been active as donors and volunteers in the CSOA family for many years. John Aalbregtse was elected to serve on the CSOA Board of Trustees in 2014 and currently serves as chair of the Development Committee and a member of the Facilities Committee. Dora Aalbregtse is a current member of the Women’s Board of the CSOA and a past member of the League of the CSOA. The Aalbregtses were elected as Governing Members in 2002, are Stradivarius-level members of the Theodore Thomas Society and also have been a part of several Patron Tours, including those connected to the CSO’s 2019 Asia and 2017 European tours.
Gunn most recently performed as soloist with Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti and the CSO in June 2019 subscription concerts in Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C Major, RV 444, and the Orchestra’s first performances of American composer Ken Benshoof’s Concerto in Three Movements for Piccolo and Orchestra, a work that Gunn performed at its world premiere in 2016.
Gunn was appointed Piccolo/Flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Daniel Barenboim in 2005. In addition to her solo appearances, she has been active in the life of the Orchestra in many ways, including performances on the CSO’s contemporary music series, MusicNOW, and the CSO Chamber Music series. Gunn also has served as a coach for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has participated in numerous education and community engagement programs of the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute.
The CSOA is grateful to Dora and John Aalbregtse for their generous gift to endow the CSO’s Piccolo Chair, a contribution that reflects their deep commitment to the organization and their strong belief in the future of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
TOP: Dora and John Aalbregtse (left); Jennifer Gunn, The Dora and John Aalbregtse Piccolo Chair (right). | © Todd Rosenberg Photography