Erie Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster to Step Down

Howard_LyonPosted: April 28, 2014

Howard Lyon, who has been the leader of the first violins of the Erie Chamber Orchestra since it was formed in 1978 by Bruce Morton Wright, will step down as concertmaster at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Lyon has been one of Erie's best-known and most active professional musicians and educators. He joined the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1969-70 season, and has appeared as a soloist with the Philharmonic and the Erie Chamber Orchestra. Lyon coaches the Erie Junior Philharmonic String Ensemble, and is an in-demand chamber musician as a member of the Perry String Quartet for 27 years and with other ensembles. Since 1984, Lyon has taught violin and viola at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

"It's important to leave this seat while I'm having more fun than work," Lyon said. "I've had a ball collaborating with Bruce and now [music director] Matthew [Kraemer]. Sometimes we did brand new music. Sometimes I got the section to do jazzy articulations my parents and I had done in four-hand piano [transcriptions of] Haydn symphonies, and some of the most personal fun was having my kids sing material I was practicing."

On this change in leadership, Music Director Matthew Kraemer stated, "I would like to thank Howard for his work as concertmaster of the Erie Chamber Orchestra over these past 36 years. His inspired leadership and his personal warmth have helped to shape this orchestra into something truly special. While we celebrate Howard during the remainder of this season, we are also delighted to know that he will continue to lend his talent as a member of our violin section in the future."

Lyon will continue as a member of the Erie Chamber Orchestra's violin section while he will be succeeded as concertmaster by Maureen Conlon Gutierrez.

A native of Mexico who has embraced many styles and genres from classical and tango to rock and light jazz, Conlon has appeared as soloist with various orchestras and chamber ensembles through Mexico and the U.S. including the renowned Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico (OSEM) under the direction of Enrique Batiz.

She has also played with the Civic Orchestra in Chicago, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, among others.

She will appear as a chamber musician and soloist with the Erie Chamber Orchestra during the 2014-15 season. In a nod to Conlon as he passed the bow, Lyon said, "Within the orchestra are friendships I've enjoyed for 30 and 40 years. I wish my successor as much fun."