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Photography by Peggy O’Donnell

Alan T. Beimfohr was honored with the 2012 Golden Baton Award by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County at a ceremony at the Big Canyon Country Club. With Alan’s passing on April 17, 2012, after a courageous 16-year battle with cancer, the award was accepted on his behalf by his wife, Linda M. Beimfohr.

The Golden Baton Award was created in 1982 to give special recognition to those whose dedication to the proliferation of the arts in Southern California has been nothing less than extraordinary—and indeed, the recipients of this award constitute a definitive “who’s who” of Southern California arts leaders. Previous recipients of the Golden Baton Award include: Henry T. Segerstrom, Donald L. Bren, Elaine M. Redfield, Zubin Mehta, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, William J. Gillespie, Marjorie Rawlins, and Dr. and Mrs. Edward Shanbrom, to name a few.

The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by a welcome from Sabra Bordas, Chairman of the Philharmonic Society’s Board of Directors and recognition of Philharmonic Society Esterhazy Patrons by Dean Corey, President & Artistic Director. Esterhazy Patrons in attendance included James and Elaine Alexiou, Darrel and Marsha Anderson, Linda Beimfohr, Douglas Burch, Jr., John and Joanne Carson, William and Laila Conlin, Warren Coy, Jane and Stan Grier, Jerry Harrington, Howard and Judith Jelinek, Siret and Jaak Jurison, Steve and Shala Lutz, Barbara Roberts, Doug and Deirdre Smith, Eugenia Thompson, Elaine Weinberg, and Bobbitt and Bill Williams.

After a delectable dinner, guests enjoyed a performance by Dr. Burton Karson, a longtime member of the Philharmonic Society’s Board of Directors. Among his selections for the evening include Schubert’s Impromptu in A flat, Opus 142, No. 2; Brahms’ Intermezzo in E, Opus 116, No. 6; and Brahms’ Ballade in G minor, Opus 118, No. 3; followed by Chopin Mazurkas: B flat, Op. 7, No. 1; E minor, Op. 41, No. 2; and A minor, Op. 7, No. 2.

The evening continued with the presentation of the 2012 Golden Baton Award to Alan T. Beimfohr. The Award, presented by Dean Corey and Sabra Bordas.

“Alan Beimfohr was my friend. He had a tremendous impact on the Philharmonic Society. He was a consummate board member—he had a lifetime of engagement with great music, and he demonstrated this over and over with his passionate participation which attracted others to follow his lead. My professional raison d’être is to give my passion for music to others. Al always gave his passion to me. I sat next him at the last performance he attended. The principal horn of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra had just finished a beautiful rendition of the solo in the Andante Cantabile movement of the Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. Al, knowing I was a former horn player, smiled at me and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up. I will never forget that. Linda smiled at me, too, because she knew Al was doing something he really loved, as it turned out, for the last time,” said Dean Corey, President and Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. “Al’s support and stewardship of the Philharmonic Society was outstanding and exemplary. Most significant was his leadership as board chairman during the most recent U. S. financial crisis which is still not quite over… I wish we could do more today than just honor his memory with the Golden Baton Award for what he has meant and what he has done to and for the Philharmonic Society.”

Special thanks went to Annette and Eugenia D. Thompson for their underwriting support of the 2012 Golden Baton Patron Appreciation Dinner.

Al Beimfohr was born on January 4, 1945, in Fort Riley, Kansas, to Casper VanDyke Beimfohr and Dorothy Hood Beimfohr. He spent his early childhood in Junction City, Kansas, and Detroit, Michigan. Then, at the age of seven, the family moved to Prescott, Arizona, and in 1955 moved on to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He graduated from Stranahan High School in Ft. Lauderdale, and received an academic scholarship in engineering to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Al received his Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering in 1966. After graduation, Al accepted a job in Peoria, Illinois with Caterpillar, Inc., which eventually brought him to Southern California. He left Caterpillar to join Kidder, Peabody & Co., Inc., a securities management firm, in 1972. He stayed with Kidder, Peabody for 17 years, attaining the position of vice president.

In 1988, Al co-founded Canterbury Capital Services with Garth Flint, Kenneth Kreuger and D. Robinson Cluck, where he served as president and chief executive officer. Ten years later, in 1998, Al co-founded Knightsbridge Asset Management, a portfolio management company, with John Prichard. Knightsbridge Asset Management, Inc. assets grew to more than a billion dollars over the following decade.

Al was former president of the Cornell Alumni Association of Southern California. Al served on the Advisory Council to the Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan MFE program.  In 2011 the Alan T. and Linda M. Beimfohr Lecture Series was established at Cornell to recognize the importance of religious life at a non-sectarian university. In addition, Al served on the Investment Committee of the U.C. Irvine Foundation.

Al, with his wife Linda, attended St. Matthew’s Anglican Catholic Church where Al led the architectural committee in designing the church, located at 2300 Ford Road, Newport Beach.

Al was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Orange County. Al supported the Philharmonic Society of Orange County in every way. He could always be counted on to attend and support major galas, post-concert receptions and dinners. He was also a member of the Society’s esteemed Esterhazy Patron Circle. Al served on the Society’s Board of Directors for nearly 10 years and served as Chairman of the Board for two seasons, during our nation’s economic crisis. Al’s leadership and direction helped the Philharmonic Society survive the challenging times, leading it to a healthier financial place. Much of the health of the organization today is attributed to Al’s dedicated leadership.

Al loved classical music. He was greatly influenced in his childhood by his mother, Dorothy. In addition to her ballet experience, she played the piano. She especially enjoyed playing Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Chopin. She loved Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and played it often. The elegant sound of her piano playing pervaded Al’s young life.

In fourth grade, the school district in which Al’s family lived gave students musical aptitude tests. The policy was that students with high aptitude scores would be given free instruments and lessons. Al ranked 3rd highest in the district that year. Al chose the clarinet and began lessons. He continued playing the clarinet through his high school years, becoming captain of the marching band at Stranahan High School in Ft. Lauderdale, and playing in the All-County High School Concert Band.

Al is survived by his wife, Linda M. Beimfohr, older brother Carl Edward Beimfohr, three children, Alison B. Stanley, Nicholas E. Beimfohr and Kurt E. Beimfohr and five grandchildren.