Mary C. Ransdell

Fabulous People: Mary C. Ransdell

Mary C. Ransdell is the executive and artistic director of The Seattle Series, which presents classical music by celebrating world-class musicians. “What a privilege it is for us—the board, volunteers, attendees—to hear and see such skill, passion, and energy in an intimate setting.” Learn more about Mary C. Ransdell…

Hometown: Frankfort, Kentucky

First job: As a liquor-department clerk at a Begley Drug Store in Lexington, Kentucky.  Funny, since I rarely drink.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Attending performances of our Grammy-winning Seattle Symphony; exploring Vashon Island’s wooded parks and coast; sharing gelato from D’Ambrosio’s in Ballard with my partner, Keith: and, of course, playing with our beautiful dog, Chico!

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Writing poetry and then sharing it! Other things have been outwardly more impressive, but to do something completely divorced from one’s identity and do it with joy is, I believe, a true accomplishment.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: A subconscious self-devaluation that unwittingly halted action and expression.

Someone who inspires you and why: Stefan Ragnar Hoskuldsson and Demarre McGill, principal flutists of the Chicago and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, respectively. Both are among the world’s elite; Stefan for astonishing mastery of the instrument and musical interpretation, and Demarre for absolute, tear-inducing beauty. It’s not simply what they can do, but the will, work and heart required to achieve it on an instrument I, too, play. That’s inspiring!

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Respect musicians–their years of dedication, focus, and ability to create transcendent moments–and value your audience members, both their desires and capacity to expand horizons–their own as well as yours.  

Favorite quote: “Life is music, music is life.” —Efe Baltacigil, Principal Cello, Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I begin the day by reading history of economic thought, political science, philosophy and/or psychology, and end it by reading a clever mystery–my little secret, until now!

What makes someone fabulous: An ability to see others and oneself with subtlety and nuance rather than commonplace evaluation; a capacity to see beauty in complexity rather than seeking it in limited “perfection;” and, necessarily, a willingness to think and learn.  

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