(Sarasota-Manatee) June LeBell, the music critic for The Observer Media Group, won first place for “Arts, Entertainment and Review Reporting” in the Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper contest recently held at the Biltmore in Coral Cables. Her award was for a series of reviews she wrote about the Sarasota Opera’s 2013 season.
“It’s a pleasure to be recognized for my writing,” says LeBell, who has also been a contributing writer for The New York Times and Gourmet. “It means the world to me to be honored by my peers.” LeBell is also the author of the cookbook, Kitchen Classics from the Philharmonic, published by Doubleday, with 50 illustrations by Al Hirschfeld.
A noted lecturer on classical music and opera, LeBell was the first female announcer on a major commercial classical music radio station. For 30 years, she was a full-time, on-air presence on WQXR, the country’s largest and oldest classical music station. She has received more than 18 awards for outstanding broadcasts with prestigious arts organizations, including the New York Philharmonic and the Marilyn Horne Foundation. LeBell has produced and hosted her “Musical Conversations,” at numerous venues, including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Santa Fe Opera, and, in Sarasota, at “Music Mondays” at SILL.
In October, LeBell launches a new classical music series on WSMR 89.1 FM, the 24-hour NPR classical music channel covering the west coast of Florida. The program, “June LeBell’s Musical Conversations,” which will air on Sundays, 4-5 p.m., features conversational interviews with well-known international and local musicians and performers, interspersed with music relating to the conversations. Her first guest is Marilyn Horne.
Before becoming a radio personality, LeBell was a professional concert and opera singer. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, the Mannes College of Music in New York City and the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, and was a private student of Adele Addison. LeBell lives in Sarasota with her husband Edward Alley (a conductor and arts administrator), and their dog, Rosy.
For more information about June LeBell, visit www.junelebell.com.