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July 14, 2023

ISO statement on the passing of longtime friend and supporter Marianne Williams Tobias

It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news of the passing of our longtime friend and supporter, Marianne Williams Tobias. Through her generous philanthropy, enduring friendship, and tremendous musical expertise, Marianne made a profoundly positive impact on the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the community we serve.

The ISO owes a debt of gratitude to Marianne for her unwavering commitment to our mission. She served as the ISO’s program book annotator for more than 35 years, along with equally impactful roles as board member, resident musicologist, and pre-concert lecturer. Marianne endowed numerous chairs and performances throughout her long relationship with the ISO. Her generous annual support enabled the ISO to continue our vital work as a cultural pillar of artistic excellence in our community and beyond.

Marianne’s history with the ISO began in 1953 when she performed as a pianist under the direction of former Music Director Fabien Sevitzky as the winner of the Young Musicians Contest. She performed again under the direction of Raymond Leppard in 1995. She also performed with the Butler University Concert Band and gave a recital at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Marianne was a long-serving member of the ISO board, to which she brought unique insight and steadfast leadership.

The plaque in the lobby of Hilbert Circle Theatre that recognizes a significant gift in 1991 from Marianne and former husband Frank McKinney reads, “The art and science of music are an enduring reflection of the thoughts and experiences of humankind.” We are grateful to Marianne for sharing her knowledge and talents with the ISO and are proud to be one of the organizations that will carry on her legacy for generations to come.

– James M. Johnson, CEO, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra