Spotlight on Catherine Feig
For this Spotlight we feature patron Catherine Lepley-Feig. In coming months we’ll continue to spotlight other patrons, musicians or leaders within the CSO and Pops community.
As a lifelong Cincinnatian, Catherine Lepley-Feig began attending Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concerts when she was in the ninth grade. Her seats in the gallery at that time cost $.90, plus $.10 to take the streetcar to 6th and Main. While she knew and loved all the pop songs in her youth, she and her sisters always had a love for classical music. Her mother played the piano, and they would spend Sunday afternoons listening to music. “I could kick myself around the block for not learning to play the piano, though,” she said. She recalls her first opera experience was Tannhäuser at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Mrs. Feig attended Miami University (OH), and after college began teaching English literature and grammar. “I could hardly wait to get to school in the morning,” she said. She fostered positive relationships with her students, maintaining mutual respect. “I never yelled at a kid in my life.” She was married in 1956, and her students even attended her wedding. Her love of music continued throughout her days teaching and raising her son, Theo, as evidenced by the Bose radio in her home (which she would carry up and down the stairs—often tuned into 90.9 WGUC—with her for many
years) and robust recording collection. “Music is an absolute must, either in person or on CDs,” she said. “I don’t think I could live without being able to hear it.”
As a longtime subscriber and supporter of the Orchestra, she attends several CSO concerts each season, often with her son and daughter-in-law (Nancy) or other friends. Some of her fondest memories have taken place at Music Hall (where she also happened to learn just how good a chocolate pretzel is). “I just love the Orchestra, and I especially love a well-played trumpet,” she said. “I’ve heard other orchestras, and I think ours is just as good as it gets.” As for favorite composers, she cites Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Brahms, Bach and Mozart at the top of her list. “I have my favorite composers, but I’m always open to hearing a new one,” she said.
Some of her favorite Music Hall memories also include going backstage to meet the musicians, guest artists and Music Director Louis Langrée.
She and her cat, Annie, recently moved into a retirement apartment, bringing along her Bose and CD collection. While she could never begin to pick a favorite recording, she has a few favorite artists from her live concert experiences as well as via the radio, including Andre Kostelanetz, Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel, and pianists Murray Perahia, Emanuel Ax and Lang Lang. When not listening to music, she also very much enjoys reading poetry, another love instilled by her mother. Her favorite poem, Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” says “everything there is to know about life,” said Mrs. Feig.
She cites the CSO as being the love of her life. “I’m just always happy when I’m there,” she said. “I’m never disappointed.”