Friday, November 14, 2008
Obituary, Palm Beach Daily News, FL
By JAN SJOSTROM
News Arts Editor
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
There were many David Prenskys.
There was the classical music devotee and popular preconcert lecturer. The advocate for the arts and tireless booster of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts. The ardent Democrat and campaigner for a universal health-care system. The devoted husband who wrote a poem for his beloved Bryna nearly every day of their 50-year marriage.
Henry David Prensky died Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, of complications from emphysema at Hospice of Palm Beach County at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis. He was 90.
Dr. Prensky, who preferred his middle name, was born Dec. 5, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He learned to love classical music from his mother and studied piano as a child.
He married June Kamen in 1936, and the couple had two children. Unlike his brother, Bertram Ross, who became an acclaimed dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, David Prensky opted to become a dentist like his father to better support his young family.
Dr. Prensky served as a ship's dentist in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II.
After the war, he settled in the Miami area, where he integrated classical music into his dental practice by playing it to relax his patients.
He and his wife divorced. He married artist Bryna Raskin in 1952. "She was absolutely the love of his life," said Anne Driver De Moore, Dr. Prensky's assistant.
The couple fell in love with Mexico during a delayed honeymoon in 1954 and relocated to Mexico City.
In Mexico, David Prensky developed a thriving dental practice whose clients included members of the British embassy, while Bryna Prensky opened a gallery showing contemporary Mexican art. Dr. Prensky arranged to have most of his wife's collection, which was shown at The Society of the Four Arts, donated to the Naples Museum of Art after her death in 2002.
The Prenskys became seasonal residents of Palm Beach in the mid-1970s and permanent residents in 1984.
Retirement opened a new chapter in Dr. Prensky's life. He threw his prodigious energies into supporting groups such as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Palm Beach Festival and the fledgling Palm Beach County Council of the Arts, the forerunner of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.
He put his extensive recordings collection and seemingly inexhaustible fund of musical anecdotes to use as a lecturer for organizations such as the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the Society of the Four Arts and Regional Arts.
"We always considered him sort of an elder-statesman professor who helped our audiences really enjoy and appreciate the programs they were coming to see," said Judith Mitchell, the Kravis Center's chief executive officer.
Dr. Prensky's charm and persistence served him well in the many causes he supported. It was difficult to say no to David Prensky.
"He was a man of deep convictions, deep passions and deep compassion," said his son, William Prensky.
"To know him was to love him," said longtime friend Lily Rovin of Palm Beach.
Dr. Prensky was in the advance guard of the drives to build the Kravis Center and the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.
"He clearly played a major role in my deciding to support the school of the arts," said Alexander Dreyfoos, who donated $1 million to the school's foundation, which Dr. Prensky helped start.
"He just was the life force here," said Pat Montesino, executive director of the School of the Arts Foundation. "He lived and breathed this school and the work of the foundation. He considered every student here his child."
Dr. Prensky's efforts for the school included setting up visual arts and music libraries and establishing annual scholarships for graduating visual arts and music majors. The school's orchestra rehearsal hall is named in his honor.
Dr. Prensky served on the board of the Etta Res Institute of New Dimensions at Palm Beach Community College, where he lectured on music and organized symposiums on current events.
On the political front, he helped found the Palm Beach Democratic Club and was its program chairman.
As a founding member of Floridians for Health Care, Dr. Prensky joined in the victorious battle to keep Good Samaritan and St. Mary's medical centers open.
Dr. Prensky battled for health-care reform into the final weeks of his life, when he campaigned from his sick bed for the adoption of single-payer national health insurance.
Dr. Prensky is survived by his son, William; a daughter, Catherine Prensky Mason of New York City; three grandchildren, Joel Mason of Wisconsin, and Josh Mason and James Regan of New York City; and three great-grandchildren.
No information on service yet, but donations for the Bryna Prensky Visual Arts Scholarship Fund or the David Prensky Music Scholarship fund for graduating seniors at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts can be sent to: School of the Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 552, West Palm Beach, FL 33402.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
By BY SHARON MCDANIEL Correspondent
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
Through April, the company offers at least one performance a month — two in February, if you count the gala black-tie Grande Masque Ball on Feb. 28 with hostess Susan Neves.
Deborah Voigt, a longtime Vero resident and stage favorite, is featured in the Dec. 19 Christmas Concert, and will perform an operatic recital March 3. to
IF YOU GO
What: Vero Beach Opera 21st season with Kaleidoscope
Where: Waxlax Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Drive, Vero Beach
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $20-$50 for concerts, $30-$100 for opera production
Contact: (772) 778-1070
VERO BEACH OPERA 2008-09 SEASON
Sunday, 3 p.m.: Kaleidoscope Concert, popular and operatic selections, Waxlax Center
Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.: A Christmas Concert featuring soprano Deborah Voigt, Community Church of Vero Beach
Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.: “Don Pasquale” (Donizetti), fully staged, starring basso Paul Plishka, Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center
Feb. 15, 3 p.m.: “Musical Extravaganza” concert of zarzuela, tango, Afro-Cuban and Neapolitan styles and opera; Waxlax Center
March 3, 7:30 p.m.: Soprano Deborah Voigt in “A Very Special Operatic Recital,” Waxlax Center
April 4, 7:30 p.m.: “Susan Neves and Friends in Concert,” starring soprano Susan Neves, Waxlax Center
Grande Masque Ball, “Opening Night at the Opera,” Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.: Hostess Soprano Susan Neves, Grand Harbor Club; black-tie, tickets $300; call (772) 569-6993
Sunday, November 9, 2008
DEBORAH VOIGT/ VBO FOUNDATION BEGINS SEARCH FOR PROTÉGÉ
Vero Beach (FL) Opera announces the chartering of the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Foundation. Among the foundation's trustees are Chairperson Deborah Voigt, Dr. Joan Ortega-Cowan and Román Ortega-Cowan (wife of the Vero company's artistic director, Roman Ortega-Cowan).
The main focus of the Foundation will be the PROTÉGÉ/MENTORING PROGRAM through which Deborah Voigt will personally select a Protégé, specifically a young soprano, each year who will then spend about six weeks with her during rehearsals and performances at a selected U.S. Opera house where she will be performing. The Protégé will enjoy extended contact with Voigt while gaining personal experience of artistry at the highest level.
The Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Foundation is extending an invitation to selected conservatories, colleges, universities and opera companies with outstanding operatic training programs for young artists to submit letters of recommendation for a full lyric or young dramatic soprano between the ages of 22 years and 30 years of age. The Protégé will be selected in April 2009.
During the 2009-2010 opera season, the Protégé will spend six weeks with Voigt at the Chicago Lyric Opera during rehearsals and performances of TOSCA from Sept. 7 – Oct. 15, 2009. The Foundation will provide housing, voice lessons, coaching and some personal needs. The Protégé will perform for Vero Beach Opera during its 2009-2010 opera season.
For more information, contact Vero Beach Opera office at P. O. Box 6912, Vero Beach, Florida, 43961 (phone 772-569-6993 or visit www.verobeachopera.org.)