Our Founders


Edgar Muenzer

The Park Ridge Civic Orchestra's founder Edgar Muenzer was the orchestra’s conductor and music director for two decades from 1994 to 2014. A longtime Park Ridge resident with his wife Nancy, Edgar brought many years of performing, conducting, and teaching to this role. Child of professional musicians, Edgar began studying violin at age four and attended the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. His illustrious career, begun in the l940s, included performing in the first violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Air Force Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony String Quartet. He also taught violin at the Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago and at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. In 1994, he founded the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, wanting to give back to the community. Bringing music to local communities, Edgar was the concertmaster of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and organized and conducted the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra. In 2014, Edgar stepped down from the position of Music Director, giving the reins to his son, current PRCOrchestra Music Director Victor Muenzer. He then continued to serve as Music Director Emeritus until his death in 2016. Among the many honors he earned during his illustrious life, Maestro Muenzer was named Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Edgar and his wife, PRCOrchestra co-founder Nancy, also earned the Illinois Humanities Council Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for their tireless commitment to bringing inspiring music to the community.  With son Victor, the tradition continues!


Nancy K. Muenzer

Nancy K. Muenzer was the co-founder of the award-winning Park Ridge Civic Orchestra and wife of the Orchestra’s first music director, Edgar Muenzer. Mrs. Muenzer, a longtime Park Ridge resident, co-founded the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra in September, 1994 with her husband Edgar, a 47-year veteran violinist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a cadre of dedicated supporters. Their goal was to bring professional symphonic performances to patrons of all ages, affordably and accessibly.  A driving force behind the Orchestra’s successful development, the charismatic Mrs. Muenzer worked tirelessly to inspire and enlist major sponsors and donors in support of the Orchestra, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Through Mrs. Muenzer’s direct efforts and that of the generous and influential music-lovers she recruited, PRCOrchestra began performing five major concerts between October and March each year at the historic Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge. Mrs. Muenzer also managed an array of special events and smaller concerts in between.  While her husband retired as music director in July 2012, Mrs. Muenzer continued in her role until 2014, helping the Orchestra transition to the next generation with the ascension of her eldest son Victor to the music director’s position. Mrs. Muenzer, along with her late husband, was a recipient of the Illinois Humanities Council Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award.