2010 Liff Spirit Award Honoree

Charles Ansbacher

Conductor and Founder of the Boston Landmark Orchestra

Charles-Ansbacher Charles Ansbacher founded the Boston Landmarks Orchestra three years after moving to Boston in 1997 with his wife, Ambassador Swanee Hunt. It is one of only a few professional orchestras in the country whose mission is to perform all free concerts with the finest musicians in the metropolitan area and help create a vibrant cultural scene all summer. As conductor and impresario, Ansbacher has led more than 125 concerts for more than 160,000 people since then in Boston’s public spaces and parks including the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade and in the Emerald Necklace at Jamaica Pond and in Franklin Park.

Through its Concerts for Children, Boston Landmarks Orchestra is also one of the few performing arts institutions in the country to commission new works for young people introducing them to instruments and teaching history through music. Two of the works include “Make Way for Ducklings,” set in Boston’s Public Garden, and “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

This past summer, the orchestra premiered a newly commissioned piece based on the life of Frederick Law Olmsted who designed the Emerald Necklace. Ansbacher has also provided the musical accompaniment at The Party in the Park, the Conservancy’s signature spring fundraiser supporting an endowment to restore and maintain more than one thousand acres in the hundred-year old landmark parks system.

Capping his distinguished 40 year career, Ansbacher has brought more people to public parks and used music to unite them, honoring Olmsted’s democratic ideals. He admired and worked with Justine Mee Liff for whom the Spirit Award is named and the respect was mutual. Currently, Ansbacher also holds positions with orchestras in Moscow, Sarajevo and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and serves on a number of community focused non-profit boards.

Past Recipients

2015
Mark Volpe
Managing Director, Boston Symphony Orchestra

2014
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
Founder, Central Park Conservancy

2013
Thomas M. and Angela Menino
Mayor and First Lady, City of Boston

2012
Malcolm Rogers
Ann and Graham Gund Director,
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

2011
Valerie Burns
President, Boston Natural Areas Network

2010
Charles Ansbacher
Conductor and Founder,
Boston Landmark Orchestra

2009
Michael and Kitty Dukakis
Former Governor and First Lady,
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

2008
Joan and Ted Cutler
Philanthropists

2007
Agnes “Diddy” Cullinane
Founder, Black and White Boston

2006
Henry Lee
Founder, Friends of the Public Garden

2005
Eugenie Beal
Founding Chair, Boston Conservation Commission
Founding Member, Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Norman Leventhal
Founder, The Beacon Companies