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Post-Gazette Top 50

TOP 50 CULTURAL POWER BROKERS

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) - Sunday, June 7, 1998

It's spring, and spring means one thing here in A&E Land.

It's Top 50 time.

Not again, we underlings groaned. It's too soon. We argued that things haven't changed that much from last year, when the PG debuted its ``Pittsburgh's Top 50 Cultural Power Brokers'' story.

The boss, a k a Mr. Big Picture, would hear none of it.

So pizza and soft drinks were ordered, and the arts and entertainment writers and editors dutifully trudged to the PG basement, where there's a room big enough to contain both the shouting and the sotto voce grumbling.

When it was over, when the pizza boxes held nothing but stuck cheese and every last 2-liter bottle was drained, we had a list. And, miracle of miracles, Mr. Big Picture was right. It's a different list.

There are 18 new names on this year's Top 50 tally. Some people, like Gene Romano and Patricia Wilde, are gone because they moved away or retired. Others, like Dick Simmons and Henry and Elsie Hillman, have been added because some of us thought grouping them into anonymous ``Old Money'' and ``New Money'' categories, as we did last year, didn't give credit where it was due.

Some people made last year's list as a sort of lifetime achievement award, but this year we honor those who made a difference here in the past year. And, just like last year, this year's list is a strange-bedfellows mingling of high culture and pop culture.

We kept the same criteria, and they are these:

* Influence: People who can and do make things happen, leaders who have money, position and power and know how to use it.

* Initiative: Enterprising people who have changed the arts and entertainment landscape in significant ways.

* Artistry: People recognized as having reached the pinnacle of their craft.

* Accomplishments: People who have set and met goals, have effected change and will leave a lasting legacy.

* Audience: People whose programs and projects play to the masses.

No. 1 Martin McGuinn

At the top of the list

Influence, fund-raising and personal commitment elevate Mellon Bank's Martin McGuinn

No. 2

Carol Brown, 63

President, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Claim to fame: The Downtown Cultural District is synonymous with Carol Brown. Since 1986, she has molded the 14-square-block area to meet her vision. In addition to the Benedum and Byham theaters, which are under her control, land has been broken in the Cultural District on the O'Reilly Theater, the future home of the Public Theater. She also has convinced the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Pittsburgh Opera to move into the Cultural District. And don't forget the riverfront park along the Allegheny. A powerful personality who usually gets her way.

Last year: No. 2

No. 3

Pat DiCesare , 60; Rich Engler, 51

Concert and festival promoters, booking agents

Claim to fame: After more than 25 years in the business of bringing everyone from The Who to Celine Dion our way, Dicesare -Engler remains the city's leading concert promoter, booking the I.C. Light Amphitheatre and the A.J. Palumbo Center, as well as staging shows in venues ranging in size from Three Rivers Stadium to Rosebud. They also put together a number of annual ethnic heritage festivals and help with the booking of the Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheatre. And, in March, the partners reached an agreement with the Three Rivers Regatta board to run the summer river festival for the next five years, assuming $400,000 of regatta debt in the bargain. And bringing in Evel Knievel as master of ceremonies may be the coolest move in regatta history.

Last year: No. 3.

No. 4

Teresa Heinz, 59

Chairman, Howard Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, director of the Vira I. Heinz Endowment

Claim to fame: One of America's wealthiest women, Heinz also controls foundations with combined resources of $750 million. The Heinz endowments are both reactive and proactive, providing grants not only in response to requests, but also initiating programs and projects. In addition to being the primary backer of the Downtown Cultural District, the Heinz endowments also launched the Multicultural Arts Initiative and Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour. In 1997, the Heinz foundations contributed $16 million to arts and culture in Western Pennsylvania.

Last year: No. 1

No. 5

Elsie Hillman, 72, and Henry Hillman, 79

Housewife, industrialist, joint philanthropists

Claim to fame: The Hillman's generosity is far-reaching and eclectic. They support almost every organization in Pittsburgh with their personal funds and through the Hillman Foundation, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Hillman Co. Their children are now following that example with their own foundations. The Hillmans give most generously to The Carnegie Museums, with its Hillman Hall of Gems, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. This year, the Hillman Gallery opened in the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. But what sets the Hillmans apart is their personal involvement on many boards, the time they give to wide-ranging causes and the impartiality of their support. From Pittsburgh Filmmakers to the reception they recently held in their home to kick-off Art for AIDS, the Hillmans have set a standard of civic involvement that is unparalleled.

Last year: Newcomer

No. 6

Richard P. Simmons, 67

Chairman, President and CEO, Allegheny Teledyne

Claim to fame: Simmons is one of the few corporate executives in Pittsburgh who gives graciously and generously of his own money, not just his corporation's. His personal gift of $5 million to the Pittsburgh Symphony from the R.P. Simmons Family Foundation is an example. More important, he serves as a trustee of the Carnegie ????? and chairman of the PSO board, and he encourages his executives to become involved in cultural organizations. Many arts groups get significant funding from Allegheny Teledyne and the Allegheny Teledyne Charitable Trust because of his influence.

Last year: Newcomer

No. 7

Fred Rogers, 70

Cultural icon

Claim to fame: ``Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'' marked 30 years on PBS in February. In addition to everything Rogers received - a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, guest spot on ``Arthur,'' Pittsburgher of the Year recognition, newspaper profiles galore - he gave by lending his name to a national sweater drive that's at 200,000 garments and counting.

Last year: No. 8

No. 8

Mariss Jansons, 55

Music director, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Claim to fame: In the short time he has been connected with the Pittsburgh Symphony, perhaps the city's most important cultural gem, Jansons has made a reputation for being as likable a human being as he is an accomplished musician. Audiences and orchestra members alike have taken to him, and he has gone into the local community to raise awareness of the orchestra and increase attendance for future seasons. He is dedicated to his work and exudes a love for music that seems to affect everyone in the house when he performs. The Symphony has just returned from a successful tour of Japan.

Last year: Newcomer

No. 9

Robin Fernandez, 42

President, Sportsrock Entertainment

Claim to fame: When he introduced Metropol to Pittsburgh in 1988, no one knew it would be the start of a small empire. Fernandez changed the face of Pittsburgh nightlife and continues to do so with Metropol/Rosebud, Heaven and Cairo, and three new projects: the Fox Chapel Yacht Club, the Downtown swing club Ciro's and The Crane, a large-scale Strip District venue.

Last year: No. 11

No. 10

Thomas Sokolowski, 48

Director of The Andy Warhol Museum

Claim to fame: Along with curator Mark Francis, 45, and their staff, Sokolowski has heightened the museum's international importance with exhibitions in New York; Sao Paulo, Brazil; three cities in Japan; Dublin, Ireland; Toronto, Canada; Basel, Switzerland; and London.

 

 



Shower of Stars Ad 1964

Pat Dicesare in his Pat DiCesare Productions office 1972

Pat DiCesare in 1972.  Before DiCesare-Engler he called his business "University Attractions" and "Pat DiCesare Productions"

Rich Englers office at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh

Rich Engler in his Stanley Theatre Office

DiCesare-Engler team with Sha Na Na at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh

DiCesare and Engler at the Stanley Theatre with Sha Na Na

Lobby of the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh

Stanley Theatre lobby.  DiCesare-Engler owned and operated the theatre between 1977-1984

The Syria Mosque in Oakland (Pittsburgh)

DiCesare-Engler took over management of the Syria Mosque from 1984 -1991

View of Pittsburgh from the  IC Light Amphitheatre stage

IC Light Amphitheatre was home to DiCesare-Engler summer concerts from 1989 - 2006