Since my world expanded greatly from a European tour early in my life I have continued to seek adventure everywhere, whether at home or abroad. After teaching and conducting music for 15 years, the opportunity to bring people together who perform in music ensembles or share other missions is exciting. Finding the best peer groups to perform for one another, creating exchanges or doing something in a collaborative way is exhilarating. Seeing new worlds open up or emerge for students is the best since all of their lives can benefit from it. But it may be an even greater thrill to create fresh new experience for adults who bring more to the exchange. I enjoy finding the new and unusual opportunities in my own hometown, New York City. I guarantee if you travel with an open mind and heart, you will enjoy your group travel experience. Funny how this can translate to a new way of being at home too.
I grew up in a large, music-loving family. My mom (a native New Yorker) also instilled in me a love of the theatre and I’ve pursued both passions in various ways ever since. My tour experience (organizing and traveling) began with a literary trip to Ireland while working at Villanova University, after graduating with a BA in Honors (an interdisciplinary humanities program). After receiving my MFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, I honed my management, organizational and financial skills working for a variety of companies while pursuing a professional acting career. Since joining Concept Tours in 2001, I’ve applied my experience and skills to expand our clients’ world, helping them make their tour visions a reality. I’m still pursuing music and theatre, singing with a church choir, and attending lots of plays in NYC and wherever I travel.
Susanna Panzini, Director of Performance Arrangements
I was born in Italy and raised with a love for music, travel and sports. Music brought me around the world as a professional cellist and tour manager. I spent the last 20 years studying and working abroad in Russia, France and the USA. I now live in New York City. Traveling and living in different countries made me adaptable to any situation and made me appreciate working within global community.
I enjoy living in big cities and take advantage of the many cultural events they offer, but I also love experiencing the wild outdoors through different sports, including skiing, sailing and biking. I’ve become an avid endurance bike racer.
“Italy is where I was born, the world is my home”
Chris Lawrence, Tour Director
Born and raised in central Florida, I am the rare “native” Floridian and spent my formative years and beyond in the sunshine state. I went to Florida State University and received a BA in Humanities with an emphasis in music. While at university I was afforded wonderful opportunities to travel and sing with amazing conductors and teachers like Andre Thomas, Colleen Kirk, Clayton Krehbiel, Rodney Eichenberger, and Maestro Robert Shaw. After matriculating and working at the university for many years, I expanded my professional/career goals by moving to New York City and working for the League of American Orchestras and more recently the American Choral Directors Association in Oklahoma City. Artistically, my goals have been honed and nurtured through my work as a professional church choir musician for over 20 years.
I have a strong personal belief and conviction that there is no better way to see, feel, and EXPERIENCE culture of all kinds than travel abroad. Exposure to other countries and peoples is integral in helping us see just how similar (not different) we all are and the power of music in particular has proven over and over to be a galvanizing force in uniting us all.