Valerie Joan Maude Carvath Lee De Visser
March 6, 1933 - October 18, 2008
Named director of operations for the Monterey Symphony in September 1990,
Valerie Joan De Visser lent her talents to serving the orchestra for
more than 23 years. In her capacity as director of operations, Joan De
Visser handled the day-to-day administration of the orchestra musicians,
library, educational programs, and concert production.
Joan De Visser's work with guest artists and their management agencies
greatly assisted the orchestra's operations and attracted wider recognition
of the professional ensemble in the community. She was key to the Monterey
Symphony's collaborations with such artists as Dubravka Tomsic, Lazar
Berman, Elena Durán, Howard Zhang, Tatiana Nikolayeva, John O'Conor,
Christopher Parkening, Vladimir Spivakov, and Oxana Yablonskaya. Her
unique insights into concert planning and performance production enhanced
the artistic accomplishments of conductor, soloists, and musicians alike.
Originally hired as box office manager in May of 1986, Joan De Visser
quickly assumed numerous other essential responsibilities.
A native of Ottawa, Canada, Joan De Visser began piano lessons at age
three. Her talent was readily apparent. She made her orchestral debut
with the Ottawa Symphony at age nine performing the Grieg Piano Concerto
in A minor. She was accepted into The Juilliard School by Katherine Bacon
at age twelve, but turned down the offer when her family moved to San
Francisco. While in the Bay Area, she studied with Egon Petri and Lili
Krauss and continued concertizing. Under her maiden name, Valerie Carvath,
Joan worked with such esteemed conductors as Eugene Joachum, Leopold
Ludwig, Constantine Ivanov, Eugene Ormandy, Arthur Fiedler, and Fritz
Reiner at orchestras including the Toronto Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra,
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic,
Boston Pops, and many others. After an unfortunate injury, ended her
concertizing career abruptly.
A short time afterward, the Eileen Ford Agency hired Joan to work as
a professional model. She was best known for her long-time appearances
in advertisements for White Shoulders perfume and Kool cigarettes. She
also modeled in fashions by Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Balenciaga,
and Chanel with photos appearing in Vogue magazine. She was photographed
by such famous artists as Neil Barr and Richard Avedon.
In September of 1997, Joan served as a judge at the Concurzo Pianistico
Internazionale di Citta di Senigalia Italy. In July 1998, she served
as a judge at the Dubravnik Arts Festival in Croatia. In September 1999,
Ms. De Visser was the chief judge at the Concurzo Pianistico Internazionale
di Citta di Senigalia, Italy.
A resident of Monterey County since 1969, Joan was active in many community
organizations including the Carmel Bach Festival and Sunset Cultural
Center. While on the board of directors of the Carmel Bach Festival,
she created the Festival's lucrative boutique’s designing many
of the articles herself. As house manager for the City of Carmel's Sunset
Theater, she was responsible for recruiting and training ushers and keeping
the auditorium running smoothly. Joan instructed gifted young pianists
at her studio in Pebble Beach and coached some of the busiest pianists
of our time.