Called “a wispy, gentle, elegant, thoughtful dreadnought with wonderful manners and an indomitable will” by violinist Isaac Stern, Helen Marie Black was a civic and cultural leader and founder of the Denver Symphony Orchestra (DSO). In addition, she was the first and, until 1951, the only woman in the nation employed in symphony management. After 10 years of single-handedly running the orchestra without compensation, she left her advertising job to become the orchestra’s salaried business manager. Black was a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and a fashion coordinator for the Denver Dry Goods and Daniels & Fisher Department Store. For a time she ran her own advertising agency. Before becoming involved with the DSO, Black was a journalist. However, music and the arts were her first love. Also through her efforts, the Central City Opera grew into one of the nation’s most famous summer festivals.
During her later years she received numerous awards and recognition.
Books containing reference to Helen Marie Black:
A Woman for All Seasons: Helen Marie Black, Heart of Denver Symphony Orchestra
Women of Consequence: The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame