Hughes to replace Murray as director

The Patriot-News
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Of The Patriot-News

"End of an era" is an overused phrase, but once in a while it fits.

Lucy Miller Murray's departure from Market Square Concerts after 26 years is a good example. During her tenure as director, she built a national reputation for the Harrisburg-based chamber music series.

"It's time for me to step down, and step back," said Murray, who turns 70 this year.

She will remain as a consultant through the 2008-09 concerts, which will be staged at Market Square Presbyterian Church and Whitaker Center.

Taking Murray's place as director is Ellen Hughes, 61, the former classical music host on public radio station WITF 89.5.

Hughes is probably best known for her 16-year stint as host of "Desert Island Discs," a weekly show in which celebrity guests were asked to list the music they would most like to have with them if they were stranded on an island.

"Ellen is such a uniquely qualified person," Murray said of her longtime friend. "When she surfaced as a candidate, it was just perfect timing."

Hughes, who resigned from WITF last year after taking a 12-month leave of absence, said she's looking forward to leading Market Square Concerts.

"I thought long and hard about it," said Hughes, who lives in Lower Allen Twp. with her husband, Nicholas. "It just suddenly became clear to me that it's something I would like and should do."

Her chamber music background includes founding and directing the Next Generation Music Festival, which offered free chamber music concerts in central Pennsylvania for 10 summers. She also serves on the boards of the Cypress String Quartet and the MATA Festival for young composers.

"You might say I have an unhealthy interest in chamber music," Hughes said, laughing. "I do have a lot of ideas for the future."

Murray said she plans to devote time to writing program notes for various chamber music festivals in the United States, and working on a second edition of her book, "Adams to Zemlinsky: A Friendly Guide to Selected Chamber Music."