2024 Top 20 Impact Makers Honorees
2024 Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award
Saturday, April 27, 2024
Four Seasons Hotel Houston
“What inspires me is to make music come alive. It affords us an opportunity to connect to the very essence of our humanity, allowing us to come into contact with that part of ourselves which expresses our most profound creativity.” – Libby Lebel
Libi Lebel is a passionate musician devoted to music outreach for underserved communities, music collaboration with other artists, and music partnerships with local charities.
Libi is the founder and artistic director of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO). Energetic, charismatic, and inspiring, she is credited with the orchestra’s remarkable growth. Since TMCO’s inception as the Doctors Orchestra of Houston in 2000, Libi has prided herself on maintaining the group’s musical excellence while keeping the orchestra experience fun and accessible to both members and audiences.
She is dedicated to highlighting local artists and other community groups, exploring the interplay of music, visual arts, and dance. Libi’s passion for collaborations and outreach encompasses TMCO’s partnership with students from Houston’s KIPP Academy and the Pilgrim Academy for underserved communities. She also has formed important partnerships with various local charities.
Libi brought TMCO to a new level of national prominence in 2016. In that year, it won The American Prize, first place, Orchestral Performance, Community Orchestra division. This was its first of many American Prizes in the Orchestral Performance Community Orchestra division. More followed from 2018 to 2021. The orchestra also received The American Prize, Ernst Bacon Award, second place, American Music Performance, Community Orchestra division, in 2018 and 2022. In October 2022, TMCO was named Best Community Orchestra by the Houston Press.
Libi has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School. She also has a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College. As a guest conductor, she has conducted for the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, and the Westminster Community Orchestra. As well, Libi was the conductor of the Princeton University Sinfonia Orchestra from 1999 to 2000. In July 2023, Libi made her European conducting debut with the National Symphony Orchestra of Teleradio-Moldova. The concert was aired live by radio to 70 countries.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, TMCO gained international recognition with a memorable virtual fundraiser. In collaboration with songwriter Diane Warren, the orchestra performed the music for the song, I’m Standing with You, written by Ms. Warren and released on YouTube. The resulting video was brilliantly engineered from recordings of each collaborating artist’s part recorded at home. I’m Standing with You garnered worldwide praise and raised $7 million for the UN COVID-19 fund.
In 2010, following her father’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, Libi helped establish the Gran Fondo Texas charity bike ride to benefit both the Multiple Sclerosis Society and TMCO. Since its inception, the ride has served over 14,000 riders and has been viable for the survival of the orchestra.
Libi has a strong reputation in the music world for her ability to communicate through orchestras of all levels and is often recognized locally for her contributions to the Houston art scene and the medical community. The Houston YWCA presented her with the Outstanding Woman of the Arts award in 2003, and she was named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine.
In June of 2023, Libi participated in the International Orchestra's Conductor Competition held in Ploiesti, Romania. Out of a field of 170 entrees, 74 were invited to participate. Of the eighteen semi-finalists, Libi was the third prize winner and the recipient of the special prize for best woman conductor. The selection of winners was made by the orchestra members and not an outside jury. Her win entitles her to a monetary prize as well as the opportunity to conduct the orchestra in three concerts from 2023 to 2025.
Libi feels blessed to have been able to share her passion for music with the Houston community while running a traditional household and raising her three children. Despite all the challenges she has been faced with, her love for working with people has kept her motivated and excited all these years.
It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Libi Lebel has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2024.