Lee Lunden rekindles musical passion at Riderwood

Liane “Lee” Lunden poses in her Madison Green apartment with her French Horn (Photo by Chris Taydus)

By Elaine Hauptman
Resident Writer

Liane (Lee) Lunden lived in Silver Spring for 56 years prior to her move to Riderwood. As a younger woman, she worked in Philadelphia as a copywriter, writing advertisements for large companies such as JCPenney.

Lee and her family fled Vienna, Austria in 1938 to escape from Nazi persecution. Her family was fortunate to arrive in New York City, where she later attended the High School of Music and Art. Piano and French horn were her majors, and she graduated first in her class of amazing musicians and artists.

This multi-talented woman attended Queens College, where she majored in English literature. After moving to the D.C. area, Lee involved herself in museum training classes. She became a docent at the National Portrait Gallery after three months of intensive training. Visitors sometimes offered her tips because of her enthusiasm, knowledge, and ability to relate to their questions.

At the Library of Congress, where Lee was also a docent, she lectured on the art, the architecture and the amazing history of the great hall.

Because Lee had personally attended the New York World’s Fair, she volunteered to lead tours to explain about the World’s Fair at the special exhibition being presented at the National Building Museum.

Lee then went to work at the Octagon Museum. This museum is the most haunted building in Washington, D.C.

It was built between 1798 and 1800 and designed by Dr. William Thornton, the architect who designed the U.S. Capitol. The house, owned by Colonel John Tayloe, who was the richest Virginian planter of his time, offered it to President and Mrs. Madison as a “temporary executive mansion” after the British burned down the White House. It later became the home of the American Institute of Architects.

Lee loved to describe Dolley Madison’s life there and how the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, was signed in the President’s study.

The Lunden musical gene was inherited by her son, Scott, who is involved in musical theatre. He wrote “Wings” for a New York production and now is a music reviewer. In this role he highlights performance art throughout New York City. He reports regularly on the radio, and is well known in the musical community. Her other son, Glenn, works for the New York subway system.

The Riderwood community was Lee’s choice so that her “children can sleep better at night.” She belongs to several book clubs and is a voracious reader. At the present time she is searching for other brass (or woodwind) players to form a brass or woodwind ensemble.

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