The OREL Foundation

Board of Directors

Members of the Board of Directors

James Conlon Founder and Artistic Advisor

For detailed biographical information, please visit

Robert J. Elias President and CEO

Robert Elias is President of The OREL Foundation, which was founded by conductor James Conlon.  The mission of The OREL Foundation is to encourage interest in and, especially, the performance of works by composers suppressed as a result of Nazi policies from 1933 to 1945.  The Foundation’s goal is to enrich the repertoire and to allow the musical community of today and tomorrow the opportunity to determine the place of these composers and their works in the history and canon of twentieth-century music. This mission is accomplished through a variety of means including performance, research, teaching, conferences, public lectures, publications and other media, as well as the most valued web site on the topic in the English language.

Mr. Elias pursued his undergraduate and graduate studies in Musicology at The University of Southern California, and between his undergraduate and graduate work, he spent a year in Hungary (under the auspices of the Ford Foundation), studying the educational methods of composer-pedagogue Zoltán Kodály at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. He has previously served as Executive Director of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Orange County (CA) Philharmonic Society, Music Teachers National Association and The Cincinnati Arts Festival.

He is a frequent guest lecturer on various topics related to music suppressed during the Nazi years and speaks at colleges and universities, conferences and cultural centers and as a pre-concert lecturer throughout the United States.

Brenda Barnes

Brenda was appointed president of USC Radio in 2001 after coming to USC as general manager of KUSC in 1997. Brenda entered public radio in 1985 after earning masters degrees in clarinet performance and musicology at Michigan State University and the University of Notre Dame, respectively. Her undergraduate degree is in music from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and in 2009 she earned a Doctor of Planning and Development Studies degree from the University of Southern California.

She served as general manager at a public station in Fort Dodge, Iowa. At WMRA in Harrisonburg, Virginia, she developed a regional network of stations that serves northwestern Virginia. She then moved to WGUC, Cincinnati, where she served as general manager for two years.

In addition to her service on the OREL Board, Brenda currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Station Resource Group and has served on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio, the Development Exchange and Eastern Public Radio. She also serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts (LACHSA) Foundation and Yarlung Artists, a nonprofit that assists young artists in achieving their career goals.

Hope Boonshaft

Hope Boonshaft is executive vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles office of Gibralter Associates, an award-winning public relations agency, representing some of the world’s best-known companies and brands.  She also leads the firm’s Entertainment and Technology practices.

Prior to joining Gibralter Associates, Hope led Hill & Knowlton’s Los Angeles and Irvine offices as executive vice president and general manager, overseeing the firm’s global entertainment practice. Her career client roster consists of the top names in corporate America. Previously, Hope spent 10 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment as executive vice president of external affairs. Early in her career, she spent time in the White House, serving in the Carter Administration as director of community relations.

Hope currently serves on several government commissions, including the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Economy and Efficiency Commission and the Los Angeles County Housing Commission. She is also on the advisory board of the City of Hope organization.

Barbara Gail Greis

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Barbara Greis attended the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Music History and Art History. A passionate supporter of both the musical and visual arts, she has been a holder of multiple annual subscriptions to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia and Lyric Opera as well as many smaller performing arts organizations since taking up residency in Chicago in 1974.

Among the many positions she has held, have been: Executive Director of the Steinway Society of Chicago where she arranged concerts, master classes and competitions to promote pre-collegiate pianists; Art Facilitator for Art Encounter in Evanston; Music Appreciation Lecturer for “Art Teaches” in Evanston; and Senior Systems Analyst for The Chicago Board of Education.

She is a member of the Women’s Board of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival Women’s Board, the Advisory Board of Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, in addition to serving as their Marketing and Development Consultant. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. She serves on the Annual Gala Committee of The Merit School of Music in Chicago, and has also served on the Board of Music in the Loft in Chicago and The Art Center in Highland Park.

Other interests include: sculpting, reading, world affairs, travel, foreign languages, continuing education and playing the piano.

Dr. Len Horovitz

Dr. Len Horovitz (known to his patients as “Dr. H.”) is one of the premier Internists and Pulmonary specialists in the country.  His client list reads like the “Who’s Who” of Broadway and film.  He is in private practice in New York City, where he is the Director of Carnegie Medical P.C., focusing on Care of the Professional Performer.  Dr. Horovitz utilizes the latest diagnostic methods, and he advocates personalized strategies for preventive care and wellness, resulting in a low rate of hospitalization in his practice.

For the past ten years, Dr. Horovitz has appeared on national television (CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox), giving expert medical advice on topics ranging from obesity, allergies, and emotional disorders to pulmonary subjects like asthma, emphysema, and bronchoscopy.  He also comments on the latest medical literature for newspapers, magazines, radio, and Internet news and health sites.  He is also is an author of the medical anthology, The Singer’s Guide to Complete Health, to be published by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Horovitz graduated from Brown University (Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum Laude), and from New York University School of Medicine.  He trained at Bellevue Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC), and Lenox Hill Hospital, where he remains on staff.

Dr. Horovitz is listed in Castle-Connolly’s “Top Doctors”. He was named “Pulmonary Professional of the Year” by Strathmore’s “Who’s Who” in 2006. He also has been recognized on the prestigious list “The Best Doctors in New York” for both Pulmonary and Internal medicine in New York Magazine.

An accomplished pianist, he has appeared in solo recitals, chamber concerts, and with orchestras at Steinway Hall, Town Hall, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern auditorium (Carnegie Hall), and Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center). He has performed with the Lyric Chamber Music Society of NY, and at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. At the 1999 Van Cliburn International Amateur Competition, he received widespread media attention for playing with “perfect voicing and projection and an arresting sense of drama and momentum”. He has performed at the German Consulate, and at the Hell’s Kitchen Jazz Festival.

As a chamber musician, he has appeared with internationally-known artists such as Igor Begelman, Yuri Namkung, Valerie Saalbach, Carol Wincenc, and Carol Vaness. He has also recorded the Grieg piano Concerto for Europadisc. He has been an actively performing member of the New York Piano Society since its inception. He was the keynote performer for the Society for the Arts in Healthcare in April 2009.

Thurmond Smithgall

Thurmond Smithgall is an arts consultant who has been an artist representative and producer of opera-in-concert in Alice Tully Hall in New York.  The Lanie & Ethel Foundation, an organization founded and chaired by Mr. Smithgall, is dedicated to promoting the careers of young performing artists, educational outreach and the performance of neglected musical compositions.

Mr. Smithgall, a native of Atlanta, also serves as Secretary of the George London Foundation for Singers and is a member of the Board of Overseers of New England Conservatory and also the Kuratorium of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.  He serves as a trustee of The Hudson Review and the American Symphony Orchestra (both in New York City), the Goethe Zentrum in Atlanta, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Botanical Garden; and the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine.

An oboist and pupil of the late Ralph Gomberg, Mr. Smithgall was educated at Middlesex School, Oberlin College, The New England Conservatory of Music, Aspen School of Music,Universität Tübingen in Germany, and did graduate work at Georgia State University.  He has performed under such conductors as Walter Susskind, William Steinberg, Gunther Schuller and Leonard Slatkin. In chamber music he has coached with such legends as Szymon Goldberg and Rudolf Kolisch. As a tenor vocalist and shawm player, he has performed with the Quadrivium Consort and was a founding member of the Greenwood Consort. He has also written music criticism and numerous articles on music for United Press International.

With the Lanie & Ethel Foundation, Mr. Smithgall has been an ardent supporter and important underwriter of the first performances, concert and staged, of Schreker operas in this hemisphere, including Der ferne Klang in New York City and at Bard College, and at LA Opera, Die Gezeichneten, as well as all other “Recovered Voices” productions and presentations.  The Lanie & Ethel Foundation was also instrumental in the production of the Bridge Records editions of “Songs of Franz Schreker” (with Wolfgang Holzmair, Hermine Haselboeck) and Russell Ryan; and “Music from Theresienstadt” (also with Mr. Holzmair and Mr. Ryan).

Robert S. Tancer

Robert S. Tancer is a Professor Emeritus of International Studies at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. He has taught courses at the graduate and executive levels in intellectual property, legal problems of international business and trade, competition policy, the WTO and the pharmaceutical industry. Professor Tancer received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1957 and an LL.M from Harvard University in 1960. He has practiced law in Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Argentina and Phoenix, Arizona. He has also worked for the Department of State, and has been a consultant providing expertise in matters of international business organizations, foreign investments, outsourcing and assembly operations.

Since retiring, Mr Tancer has been active as a community volunteer, working with non-profits and arts organizations seeking to increase efficiency through collaborative projects, while striving to reach larger and more diverse audiences. He currently is a Member of the Executive Committee and a Trustee of the Desert Botanical Garden. a member of the Board of The Phoenix Symphony,  past President and Honorary Trustee of The Arizona Opera, President of Friends of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University, Board member of the Institute for Mental Health Research and of the Harvard Club of Phoenix.

Mr. Tancer resides in Phoenix with his wife.