1992 Recipient - Dr. George Zack
Conductor, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra
Maestro Zack begins his 33rd season with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. He was recently notified of his selection as a Kentucky Star by the Downtown Lexington Corporation in recognition for his work in music as one "who has made a significant, long term contribution in their area." He was also recently named Artist of the Year by the Kentucky Arts Commission and Governor Paul Patton. That award was followed with the prestigious Optimist Cup from the Lexington Chapter. From 2000 to 2003, he conducted the finals of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati. These accomplishments reflect the range of musical achievements and community recognition he has continued to receive as a leader of Lexington's arts community.
Zack holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Theory and Composition from Wichita State University (cum laude), a Master of Music in Theory and Viola from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from Florida State University in Music Theory and Medieval Art History. He studied conducting under James Robertson, a protégé of Pierre Monteux, Dr. Richard Lert of the Berlin State Opera, and Gustav Meier at Yale University. He was named Conductor Laureate upon his retirement from the Warren Chamber Orchestra, a post he held for 31 years. He has frequently conducted orchestras throughout the U.S. from East (Bridgeport, CT) to West (Monterey, CA) and North (South Bend, IN) to South (Amarillo, TX). In addition, he conducted the Thessaloniki State Symphony in Greece, and in 1979, took the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra on a three-week concert tour of Russia and Romania.
He has worked extensively with young musicians serving as music director for All State Orchestras in Ohio, New York, and Kentucky. When Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America created a youth orchestra to celebrate Kentucky's Bicentennial, Maestro Zack was selected to lead it on a statewide concert tour, culminating in a live television broadcast from the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville. In addition to his musical duties, Zack hosts George Zack's Enhancement of Music on WEKU Thursday mornings. He is a member of the advisory board of KET, The National Society of Arts and Letters, the Jazz Foundation, Picnic with the Pops Commission, the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Humanitarium, Center for Culture and Diversity. He has served as a member of the vestry of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and co-chaired the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). He was awarded the Spirit of Caring Award by the Volunteers of America, the Hellenic Award given in recognition of a life that exemplifies Greek ideals, and was voted into the Hall of Fame of the Mountain Laurel Festival where he has served many years as its Master of Ceremonies. He is an Honorary Donovan Scholar, and received the prestigious NCCJ Lauren Weinberg Humanitarian Award in 1997.