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Bolivian Alumna Welcomes Maestro Atherton

Professor Leonard Atherton is welcomed to the La Paz home of 1987 architecture graduate Beatriz Fernandez de Aranibar.
Professor Leonard Atherton is welcomed to the La Paz home of 1987 architecture graduate Beatriz Fernandez de Aranibar.

When Muncie Symphony Orchestra music director emeritus Leonard Atherton was invited to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia recently, he was returning to his early musical roots. Following graduation from Oxford University, Atherton’s first job was as conductor of the La Paz-based orchestra. A special welcome awaited him, however, from a Ball State graduate, Beatriz Fernandez de Äranibar, who had attended one of Atherton’s concerts in the mid-1980s in Muncie. The concert in question, a Ball State University theatre performance of Mozart’s Figaro, included well-known Muncie resident Tommye Lou Beavers in the role of the countess. Tommye and her husband Robert hosted Beatriz in their home at that time, and invited her to the performance conducted by Atherton. On July 17-18, 2003 Beatriz and members of her family were members of the enthusiastic audience at the concert conducted by Atherton in La Paz, including presentation of Haydn’s Symphony No.104 ‘London’ and two Baroque concertos performed by young soloists from the national conservatory. “Meeting Beatriz was a delightful experience,” said Atherton, who was a dinner guest of her family. “She had very warm memories of her time at Ball State and was genuinely pleased that the university had interest in contacting her.” Beatriz, who described Atherton’s La Paz concert as “brilliant”, is active as a painter and sculptor as well as being mother to three children. “I hope we receive more visits of people from BSU in the near future,” added Fernandez. Leonard Atherton can attest to the sincerity of this generous and kind offer.