Highlighting Our Donors - PHYLLIS AND DAN EPSTEIN

The ongoing success of THE FUTURE IS HEAR campaign is thrilling to all of us at the San Diego Symphony, and we are truly grateful for the generosity of all who have given at every level. Over the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing stories from some of the donors to the campaign and hear more about why they have chosen support this important initiative.

The Symphony is fortunate to have an extraordinary group of visionary leaders embodied in its Board of Directors. Phyllis and Dan Epstein are current and former Board members who believe that community access to the arts is important — as witnessed by the fact that Phyllis also serves as Chair of the Symphony’s Learning and Community Engagement committee. We are thankful for Phyllis and Dan’s $3 million campaign gift and are honored to be recognizing their support with the naming of the Dan and Phyllis Epstein Donor Lounge at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Phyllis sat down with us recently and revealed why she and Dan give to the arts and just how much the Symphony’s new venue means to her.

Genetic or environmental? When it comes to music, the answer is still in doubt for Phyllis and Dan Epstein, who were each raised in families where music was a rich part of their childhoods. Phyllis grew up singing and dancing in a music-minded family, and Dan’s mother was a professional pianist performing and teaching well into her 80’s. “Dan is an avid listener,” Phyllis said, “and has fond memories of Clair de lune!,” a song he often heard his mother playing when he would arrive home from school.

The couple moved to San Diego in 1970 and began attending the San Diego Symphony’s summer concerts. “We go to the winter season, but our true love is the Pops summer season,” said Phyllis, “and we’ve faithfully followed the summer concerts through various iterations ever since.” Eventually, Dan served on the Symphony board while Phyllis became involved with several arts organizations, including Board membership on the California Arts Council, and now for the past eight years on the Symphony Board.

When the possibility of creating a new summer home came on the horizon, the Epsteins were ready. “We said this is it, we’re interested, and we started talking about what we could do,” said Phyllis, and added with comic timing: “I said that I wanted to name the restrooms!” referencing the replacement of the old park’s dreadful temporary facilities.

But all joking aside, Phyllis said that she and her husband saw early on what a reimagined outdoor venue could mean to the city. “This new venue is going to put the arts on the map like it’s never been before in San Diego. This is the real deal when it comes to cultural tourism. The Rady Shell isn’t just about music, it’s art, it’s beyond words!”

And when asked what The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park means for the San Diego Symphony, she pauses to reflect on her and her husband’s many years of involvement: “With this new venue the organization has taken a huge step forward…the orchestra, Martha’s leadership, Rafael’s arrival, the board, the staff…everything has come together perfectly.”

THE FUTURE IS HEAR is a $125 million campaign supporting the San Diego Symphony and its wide range of artistic and community programing. With a mission to change lives through music and a steadfast belief that music belongs to all of us, the Symphony is committed to continually engaging, supporting and learning from its diverse community. Gifts at every level make an impact, and we are more that 75% of the way to a goal which will enable us to further enhance our programs and facilities for the enjoyment and benefit of all. To make your mark, e-mail campaign@sandiegosymphony.org or follow this link to learn more about the campaign, about the various giving opportunities, and about how you can help tell the world that THE FUTURE IS HEAR at San Diego Symphony!

Share Article
Back to all posts