From the ASO to the Torpedo Factory, every organization Paul touched, he changed for the better.”
— Arts patron and former ASO board member Fran Redmon
A conductor’s podium was as much an office for Paul Frank as was the traditional CEO corner suite. A simple baton would come to life in the hands of the master puppeteer, his love of music infectious. When Frank was hired as executive director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 2016, he called it his “dream job,” the perfect fit for his business acumen and musical artistry.
“I am excited about the possibilities ahead,” Frank said at the time. “Serving as the executive director for the ASO provides a unique opportunity to participate in the search for a new music director and inject new energy and experience into the position. My goal is to make an impact.”
Frank was leading the ASO search to replace longtime conductor Kim Allen Kluge when he died March 13 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 76.
“Paul was a combination of businessman and music man,” said Gant Redmon, a friend of Frank’s for more than a quarter century. “He was an excellent fundraiser and superb performer and excelled in all the various phases of his career. He was quite a guy.”
Frank was born in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 1940, to Murray and Freidel Frank. He attended Coolidge High School and graduated from George Washington University. An accomplished musician, Frank led The Collegians musical group during the 1970s and later performed as both a solo pianist and accompanist throughout the greater Washington area including the Kennedy Center, the Jewish Community Center and countless other venues.
“Music was always a big part of Dad’s life and our house growing up was always full of music and musical instruments,” said Todd Frank. “I am forever grateful to him for passing along not only whatever 'talent gene' we got from him, but also the appreciation of music. Thanks to him I've filled my life with music and am passing that appreciation on to my kids.”
Mark Frank also recalled the influence of his father’s music.
“My bond with my father centers around music,” said Mark Frank. “My fondest memories are the little things — how he would wrap his arms around me as a young boy and show me how to play something at the piano or how he would holler from upstairs and tell me to slow down when I was practicing my scales. But the one memory that I truly cherish was falling asleep as a kid to the sound of Dad playing the piano. To this day, I play piano for my kids when they go to sleep. And these past few weeks, I have been playing all of Dad's favorites.”
Prior to joining the ASO, Frank served as CEO of the Collingwood Library and Museum as well as executive director for the Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Most recently he was the interim executive director for the McLean Symphony Orchestra.
Frank actively participated in several area chambers of commerce as well as the Rotary Club of Alexandria, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and led the musical “Rotary Rooters.” He is a former president of the Alexandria Arts Forum and served as the Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival chair.
In the private corporate sector, he was president of Paul A. Frank Associates, Inc., a human resources firm, and human resources director for the Boeing Company.
“Even later in life when Dad was more focused on his professional and nonprofit work, he was still involved with musical endeavors on the side,” Todd Frank said. “It all intersected with his involvement with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Sadly, he mentioned to me a few weeks ago, ‘I just got my dream job.’”
Frank is survived by his wife of 23 years, Barbie Beggs Frank; a brother, David Frank, and sister, Judy Koldaro; children Todd Levinson Frank (Marcella), Denise Frank-Conneen (Michael), and Mark Frank (Suzanne); stepchildren Carter Poole (Woody) and Sarah Poole Wincovich (Nick); and grandchildren Zachary, Keira, Ian, Ryan, Sophia, Stelianos, Andreas, Sammy and Arn.
Visitation will be held Sunday, March 19, at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Road, from 4-7 p.m. A memorial service will be held Monday, March 20 at Everly-Wheatley at 11 a.m.
“Paul was a natural for the ASO,” said arts patron and former ASO board member Fran Redmon. “He loved everything about how a symphony orchestra operates. From the ASO to the Torpedo Factory, every organization Paul touched, he changed for the better.”