It is with great sadness that the League of American Orchestras reports the passing of Chester Lane, who worked as an editor at Symphony, the League’s signature publication, for nearly four decades. Chester died suddenly on November 24 while visiting friends in West Virginia. Marianne Sciolino, Chester’s wife of 13 years, states that he died from heart failure, and had not been sick.
The League’s longest-tenured staff member, Chester joined the magazine—then known as Symphony News and published bimonthly—in December 1979, when the League was headquartered in Northern Virginia. Beginning with the February/March 1980 issue, his writing appeared in 210 successive issues of the magazine: unsigned news reports, columns, and bylined features including profiles of orchestras, musical artists, and administrators, as well as articles on such topics as repertoire, programming, education, community engagement, patron relations, and League training activities and services. He was recognized with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award in 2002 for his article “Music Close to Home: The Vital Role of Community Orchestras in America,” which appeared in Symphony’s November/December 2001 issue.
In 2017, Chester stepped down from Symphony to take up a position as communications director at Sciolino Arts Management, which represents established and emerging classical musicians, and worked alongside his wife, Marianne Sciolino, the firm’s CEO and founder. He wrote for Symphony on an occasional basis and pursued writing opportunities and personal projects in the classical music field.
Chester held a bachelor’s degree cum laude in English literature from Harvard College and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with further training in piano. A lifelong choral singer, he was a member and past board president of New York’s Canterbury Choral Society.
Saluting Chester’s service to the orchestra field at the League’s 2017 National Conference, Jesse Rosen, then the League’s president and CEO, commented, “Chester Lane is known and admired by all our colleagues, and has been a faithful and eloquent storyteller for orchestras for more than 35 years.”
A memorial event will be held in January at St. Paul the Apostle Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side; details will be announced.