The SF Symphony’s artistic, education, and community programs would not be possible without the generous support of thousands of individuals and corporations. 

MAKE YOUR GIFT View Donor Benefits

Not Your Usual Suspect

Celebrating the Karel & Lida Urbanek Assistant Principal Cello Chair

“I’m not your usual suspect,” remarked Lida Urbanek with a smile. “My interest in music has always been because of the people I’ve met. People who perform and appreciate music. They inspire me. That’s music for me.” 

Given her unassuming manner, it comes as no surprise that Lida recently endowed an orchestral chair for the San Francisco Symphony in a rather direct way. “I thought about what was important to me. I looked up the Symphony’s Development Department contact information on the website. I called and it was done.” 

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that. “I have been a subscriber for more than fifty years. We didn’t have much in those early days. My husband’s company went public after his passing, and at that point I had more to give. I wanted to honor him and so I gave thought to what he was passionate about. He loved open space and hiking. And he really loved the Symphony.”

With so many endowment options, Lida quickly settled on an endowed chair. “I love being able to see the musicians in action. That’s why I chose to endow a chair rather than a program. It was personal. There are people behind the music.”

As to which instrument, Lida was inspired by, of all things, a Symphony donor event. “It featured five cellists with five different cellos, from something basic and cheap to something rare and old. Each cellist played a bit of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. I was astounded by the difference in the sounds. I’d never realized that how it was constructed was so critical to the sound it made.”

Assistant Principal Cello Amos Yang is the first person to hold the Karel & Lida Urbanek Assistant Principal Cello Chair. I’m a proud San Francisco native,” he noted. “I first experienced the power of music as a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1981, and am honored to now be part of this wonderful ensemble. It’s especially gratifying to know that there are people in the community willing to support the legacy of the Symphony. The Assistant Principal Cello Chair endowment by Lida is an honor that I will always appreciate and be thankful for, and she and Karel will remain a huge part of every performance we give. It is support like this that is crucial to the success of the San Francisco Symphony.”

About her decision to endow a chair, Lida reflected, “It was impulsive. But decisive. I realized I could do some good in my lifetime rather than leaving it to after. I wanted something permanent, something that would outlive me. And I wanted to honor my husband, to keep his memory alive.”

Karel & Lida Urbanek
Music for everyone
We are dedicated to fostering the growth of young artists, bringing music education to public schools and providing a cultural connection with San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Education & Community


My Company Matches

Find out if your company matches gifts.

Learn More


General Gift Form


Stock Transfer Form


Wire Transfer Form

Please wait...