Joan De Visser

Joan De Visser

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.

Joseph Truskot