Without Susan Greene the music might have died.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic's former executive director died Thursday from cancer in Colorado Springs. She was 72. She is survived by a daughter.
A service will be held 9 a.m. Monday at Sons of Israel Cemetery, behind Evergreen Cemetery, 1005 Hancock Expressway.
Greene famously stepped in to help raise funds to save the city's orchestra, formerly known as the Colorado Springs Symphony, after it filed for bankruptcy in 2003. She had been a member of the symphony's board of directors since 1990 and executive director since 1997. She stepped away in 2001. The orchestra's name was changed following the bankruptcy announcement.
"She oversaw the philharmonic through some of its most turbulent years," said philharmonic Executive Director Nathan Newbrough, who took over in 2008. "She showed remarkable tenacity mixed with a genuine love of music and the musicians and orchestra. "Those two gifts really influenced the way that she approached working with the orchestra and helped it succeed. We're very proud of the work that Susan did and the gift she gave our community by showing outright perseverance."
Greene worked relentlessly to save the institution, and after its second season in 2005 the orchestra was in the black. By the time she retired in 2007, the organization carried no debt, held a two-year contract with musicians and kept all advance-ticket money safe in escrow.
"It's hard to overstate her importance during the transition," said Philharmonic Concert Master Michael Hanson, "that she was willing to be so proactive in trying to move the mission forward for the orchestra and that she worked so hard. I have a deep appreciation for her as a person and it's not an overstatement to say she's one of the reasons the philharmonic is here and orchestral music on this level continues to grow in this community."
During her time working with the orchestra, she was able to bring in world-class talent, such as violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, violinist Joshua Bell, flutist James Galway, pianist Andre Watts and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. She was also responsible for the hiring of esteemed conductor Lawrence Leighton Smith as music director in 2000.
"It was her pride and joy and she loved it as much as anything," said Greene's daughter Nicole Greene. "She loved music and the musicians and she loved bringing that to the people of Colorado Springs."