One year ago, Minnesota lost an amazing benefactor and public servant, Josephine "Nicky" Carpenter.
For more than four decades, she expressed her tireless love of music, education, quality information and people through such organizations as the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and, among many others, Minnesota Public Radio. Classical MPR is honored to remember Carpenter's remarkable achievements and the impact she had on Minnesota and the organization.
Carpenter expressed her love and appreciation for arts and education through many organizations across the state. She served as board chair of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1991 to 1995, and also was active on the boards of the Minnesota Opera, the MacPhail Center for the Arts, St. John's University and the League of American Orchestras. Her parents also had served on the board for the Minnesota Orchestra, beginning a tradition of public service that Carpenter continued throughout her life. Her husband, Tom, who died in 2014 and his father and grandfather before him also served on the orchestra's board.
Carpenter's time with MPR began in 1974, when she joined the board of directors, and quickly became an indispensable member of the organization. She was active on the board for a decade and served as the first female board chair from 1978 to 1979.
During her 10 years with MPR, her "thoughtful counsel and advice, her caring spirit and faithful support," were "deeply valued," says Jon McTaggart, MPR's president and CEO. "She was a force for good in so many ways."
Having already accumulated a long list of achievements from her many decades in service to public arts and education in Minnesota, Carpenter was honored in 2007 as Twin Cities Outstanding Individual Philanthropist of the Year.
Describing her love for music, she once said, "Music speaks to people's hearts. It offers peace and understanding for what ails you. It stirs and challenges you. It evokes deep emotion. … It brings people together."
Like the music she loved so much, Carpenter brought people across Minnesota together in their appreciation for art and beauty.
Classical MPR pays tribute to Carpenter today with one of her favorite works, Air for Cello and Orchestra, composed by Aaron Jay Kernis and performed by cellist Truls Mork with conductor Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra. You can hear the track using the player above.