Elaine Redfield, one of the pioneers that helped create Orange County’s now-vibrant performing arts scene, has passed away at age 96.
She was the founder and Honorary Life Director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, and a founding member of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, renamed from Orange County Performing Arts Center in 2011.
She was and remains the only female president of the Center’s Board of Trustees (1979 to 1980) and Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1980 to 1981. In those roles, she was also very active in the design of the Center.
Redfield was also a member of Center support groups Founders Plus, the Legacy Society and The Guilds of the Center.
One of her most noted achievements came from a letter she wrote to Henry Segerstrom proposing that the family donate the land on which Segerstrom Center for the Arts stands today. From that point on, the Segerstrom family was closely involved with the creation and development of the Center.
“We are sad to have lost a much beloved member of the Center family,” noted Terry Dwyer, president of the Center. “Elaine Redfield’s leadership was inspiring and compelling. There are so many wonderful stories that illustrate her passion and commitment to both the performing arts and this community. While we mourn her passing, generations to come will reflect on her many contributions with great appreciation, and her legacy will continue to inspire the visionaries and leaders of the future.”
“Elaine has been called an ‘arts fairy godmother,’ and her involvement in the Orange County arts community included organizations across a wide variety of genres,” wrote Dean Corey, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, on his blog.
“Elaine was born in New York City, just three blocks away from Carnegie Hall. She grew up listening to her mother play the piano for her and developed a love for music early on. She moved to Los Angeles in 1941, then to Orange County in 1950. And the county would never be the same. Orange County’s vibrant arts scene wouldn’t be where it’s at today without Elaine Redfield. She will be dearly missed.”
An open memorial service was held on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Pacific View Memorial Park & Mortuary in Corona del Mar. Her remains will be interred next to her late husband, Dr. William Redfield, at Pacific View.