Meet the Audience: Brian Marlsberger

This feature spotlights Brian Marlsberger, not only a great supporter of the arts and frequent visitor to the Opera House, (often attending multiple performances of an opera or ballet), but also a great friend to the KCOHO. Brian was spotted in his usual front row seat by our Assistant Principal Oboe/English Horn Carole Libelo, who noticed his enthusiastic applause for the orchestra, and approached him to find out more. This interview with Brian first appeared in our blog last spring. Since that time, Brian has become a regular visitor to the musicians' lounge in the Opera House, attends all our parties, and knows most if not all of us by name. We often know he's in the house when a much appreciated tray of tempting pastries appears in the lounge! Cheers, Brian!

Carole: Would you like to tell us a little about yourself, e.g. where you’re from; how long you’ve lived in the area; a little about your career. (It seems multi-faceted!)

Brian: I was raised in Pennsylvania and came to Washington to attend law school at George Washington University, and I’ve lived here since then. I work for Bloomberg BNA. I research and write four substantial law books on competitive employment, published for Bloomberg BNA in conjunction with the American bar Association, every year; it is fascinating work, but it is also rather demanding work and keeps me quite busy. I was inducted as one of only four honorary fellows of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers this year (I was the only one not a judge!), but my publication schedules kept me so close to home that the College very kindly offered to have me inducted in absentia.

Carole: What is your artistic background, i.e. did you grow up playing an instrument, dancing, etc?

Brian: My mother sang around the house all day long, mostly show tunes, my father played the clarinet for pleasure, and my brother played piano, but I was asked, not very kindly, by my junior high band conductor to SIT OUT an entire year's worth of classes: I never could bang the cymbals quite on time in The Star Spangled Banner!

Carole: How long have you been coming to the Opera House? How often do you come?

Brian: While in law school I interned for a senator and met people in his office who were interested in the opera and the symphony. I've been coming to the Kennedy Center since then, with increasing frequency as the years have gone by, and I am sometimes there twice a day!

Carole: What Opera House productions have been the highlights for you?

Brian: I delighted to see Madame Butterfly at the Kennedy Center many years ago and now, under the direction of law school classmate Leslie Swackhammer, it is coming back this season, with Leslie's very personal stamp, and I'm so excited I've got tickets for three separate performances!  

Carole: You’re obviously passionate about the arts. How did you develop your love for opera and ballet?

Brian:  It has been a great delight -- and often quite cathartic -- to come so often. Being able to zip over to the Kennedy Center and listen to some very stirring music provides a great delight - a great respite from the work I do, and I am very grateful to the musicians of the House Orchestra for the skill and the passion they bring to the pit -- and for the stirring, swelling sounds they produce there!