For Immediate Release: July 26, 2017
Media Contacts: Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, [email protected]
RPO NAMES NEW PRESIDENT & CEO: CURTIS S. LONG
Long brings 24 years of success in managing symphony orchestras
Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) Board Chairperson Jules Smith, on behalf of the Board of Directors, announces today that Curtis S. (Curt) Long has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, to begin on September 1, 2017. Long has served as president of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra since 2008. He has held positions of increasing responsibilities in orchestra management, having served as the executive director of the Dayton (Ohio) Philharmonic Orchestra for fourteen years and, prior to that, as executive director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
Long succeeds Ralph Craviso, who was appointed RPO President & CEO in October 2015 to assist the Orchestra in a financial turnaround. The RPO has determined, based on the successes achieved by the RPO to date, that this financial turnaround is firmly underway.
Under Craviso’s leadership, the RPO developed a five-year financial plan that establishes benchmarks for progress in both revenue and expenses designed to achieve balanced budgets and long-term fiscal stability. The RPO anticipates that it will achieve a balanced budget for the current fiscal year ending August 31, 2017 – the first year of that five-year plan – for the first time in six years, having increased ticket sales by 20%, setting a new record, and increasing fundraising by 21% year-to-date. As part of the plan, Craviso hired professionals from the Rochester community with demonstrated skills in fundraising.
“Given the success of the turnaround, it is time for the RPO to transition leadership to a new President and CEO who can lead this community gem into the future as it anticipates its centennial celebration,” explains Craviso. “Curt Long has demonstrated experience in leading and successfully managing symphony orchestras, and I am confident that the RPO will continue its upward trajectory under his leadership.”
Under his leadership at Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Long brought administrative stability in challenging economic times by revitalizing programs, providing strong financial management, and increasing operating contributions. With a particular interest in cultivating the next generation of concertgoers, he increased ticket revenues by more than 70 percent while controlling operating expenses. During his tenure, he oversaw the ASO make its Carnegie Hall debut, release a limited-pressing recording of commissioned works, engage Carlos Izcaray as new Music Director, expand education programs both in Greater Birmingham and in underserved rural communities throughout Alabama, and successfully launch the Sound Edge Festival. As executive director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, he played a key role in developing the new $125 million Schuster Performing Arts Center as well as increasing ticket sales by more than 100 percent. Prior to his orchestra experience, he held several positions culminating in director of finance at Shafer Event Management Inc. Long is an alumnus of the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Orchestra Management Fellowship program. He earned his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in non-profit management, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa.
“The Board is confident that Curt Long’s 24 years of experience in managing symphony orchestras and his proven track record of success will advance the RPO’s Five-Year Plan,” says Jules Smith. “He is also the best complement to Ward Stare, our Music Director, who has brought the RPO to a new level of artistic quality.”
(RPO Names New President & CEO, continued)
“I’m very pleased to welcome Curt Long to Rochester as our new President & CEO,” adds Stare. “His vision, passion and experience will be great assets to our organization. This is a very exciting time for us and I look forward to working with Curt in the coming years to build on our recent successes and to craft a bright future for our wonderful orchestra in our beloved community.”
Long was chosen after a search that included input from RPO conductors and musicians as well as the search committee and board of directors. Craviso, who was also involved with selecting his replacement, will assist in Long’s transition period.
“The RPO is an exceptional orchestra that is doing great things under Music Director Ward Stare, and I am excited to assume this leadership role and look forward to becoming a part of the Rochester community,” says Long. “The RPO has an amazing legacy of artistic excellence and achievement, and continues to be a leading contributor to the thriving cultural life of Rochester. I look forward to exploring ways to increase its connection with and service to the Greater Rochester community.”
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 23-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 16,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.