At the risk of being redundant, I have to tell you again, Steve: your notes are beautiful; they inspire me, and they match the level of music-making to which we all aspire. I can’t thank you enough.

        —Peter Stickel, co-founder, New England String Ensemble (2/2003)

I just wanted to say thanks for (as usual) being informative, clear and wonderfully context-setting without talking down to the listener. Your notes add a great deal to our programs.

–Daniel Stepner, Artistic Director, Aston Magna (2002)

From a review of a madrigal concert by the Handel and Haydn Society (Boston): 

What your average citizen needed to know about the madrigal was shrewdly and elegantly laid out by Steven Ledbetter in his excellent program-book essay.

–Richard Buell, Boston Globe, 3//99

From the Program Editor, Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra:

I’m still truly loving your notes! I cannot imagine anyone who is not more eager to hear the music once they’re read what you’ve written. It’s especially important for our “early bird notes” in which we send program notes to subscribers a week or so prior to the concert.

–Mary Patrick, 3/28/00

From William Schuman (after a performance of his Credendum at Tanglewood):

I did not have an opportunity to read the program book until we returned home. You do such a wonderful job of combining scholarly expertise with language accessible to the layman that your admirers should tell you this from time to time. And this composer certainly admires the outstanding program notes that you consistently provide.

–William Schuman, 8/18/90

…And after a performance of his Symphony for Strings in Seattle):

I was sent a copy of the Seattle Symphony program book and learned that my Symphony for Strings was performed. The program notes seemed to me of extraordinary quality, and I was, therefore, not the least bit surprised to see that you were the author. Thanks so much for the depth of understanding you bring to my compositions.

–William Schuman, 2/10/91

From the Music Director of the New England String Ensemble:

Your program notes were wonderful–they give the experience of opening the program book such focus and density. They also bring people into the concert as insiders, whether they read them before or after they’ve heard the music.

–Susan Davenny Wyner, 5/1/00


From a Connecticut visitor to Tanglewood

Dear Mr. Ledbetter,

You are terrific! We have been attending the Saturday morning rehearsals at Tanglewood for many years, but 1997 has been the tops. Your lectures have been outstanding. The music comes alive with your introduction. We are looking forward to the 1998 season.

       –J.F., Canton, CT, 8/24/97

From a visitor to a Boston Symphony open rehearsal lecture (Haydn, The Creation)

The program began with a fascinating lecture by Steven Ledbetter, the Boston Symphony musicologist and program annotator. Now I must admit as a retired professor that I much prefer to give lectures than to receive them, but Ledbetter’s lecture was well prepared, entertaining, and instructive. It did increase my understanding of the performance.

       –Donald M. Murray, “Over 60,” Boston Globe, 1/19/93

After speaking to a group of Massachusetts schoolteachers:

Thank you so much for speaking to our teachers on Saturday the 11th. Your words were not only appropriate for a group of teachers thinking seriously about music for the first time, but also tremendously inspiring. We were all impressed with your ability to address both the lay person as well as the more knowledgeable musicians in the group.

        –Boston Music Education Collaborative administrator, 7/98

From an audience member after a Tanglewood open rehearsal talk

Having just returned from the rehearsal of Beethoven’s Ninth, we feel compelled to write and let you know how much you and your presentations are loved and appreciated. Each year the talks are more and more informative. You are making learning fun, entertaining, and more and more enthusiastic. How you managed to get in so much information on Friday morning about the connections between Rostropovich and the [Russian] composers, and today about insights into Beethoven’s mind while composing, is staggering. Your “joy” in delivering these talks shines through, and we want to wish you many more years of success in this role. Don’t know if you have a fan club, but if not, maybe we will start one.

        –A.W., Flemington, NJ, 8/29/98