A panel of the chief executives leading major performing arts organizations will delve into the long-term impact of COVID on established organizations, anticipated audience trends, and the role of technology in moving forward.
Fred Bronstein – an accomplished pianist, dedicated music educator, and successful chief executive of American symphony orchestras – began his appointment as the first dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University on June 1, 2014. He was renewed for a second five-year term beginning July 1, 2019. Continue to read Fred Bronstein’s bio>>
A recipient of Kennedy Center’s Human Spirit Award, as well as one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers in the nation and Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40, Afa Sadykhly Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She currently serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation’s leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In this role, she oversees all fundraising, strategic and artistic initiatives through which Sphinx expands access to classical music education and supports a national roster of distinguished musicians of color, while annually reaching 10,000 through its programming and more than 2 million through live and broadcast audiences. During her tenure, Dworkin has expanded the organization’s international partner network to 50+ foundations and leading enterprises, resulting in the organization’s most successful fundraising campaign in its twenty-three year history. Under her leadership, her team’s national artistic network has also grown to 60+ symphony orchestras, enabling Sphinx to continue scaling its programming to new audiences worldwide. The strength of Dworkin’s leadership across sectors and national divides is informed by her musical training, 25+ years of experience in the field, as well as her international corporate experience as a trilingual interpreter and Executive Assistant to the President of ARCO, The International Oil and Gas Company in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Margaret M. Lioi has been Chamber Music America’s Chief Executive Officer since 2000, and recently announced her retirement after serving as the longest-tenured executive in CMA’s 43-year history. During this time, CMA incorporated jazz into its small ensemble portfolio, increased its grant-making to more than $1 million annually, established May as National Chamber Music Month, and ratified the organization’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, solidifying its dedication to equitable practices in every area of its operations.
After receiving a Masters in Piano Performance from New England Conservatory, Lioi was a collaborative pianist and vocal coach, working with regional opera companies and individual singers and instrumentalists. After 10 years as a performer, she returned to school to pursue an MBA with a concentration in arts management at Binghamton University/SUNY. She interned at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC, was subsequently hired as the Development Associate, and became the Director of Development six months later.
Following Spoleto, Lioi was the Executive Director of The Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, and the Senior Director of External Affairs at The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival prior to CMA. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Sphinx Organization, is a member of the Board of The Performing Arts Alliance, and is an adjunct faculty member in the MA in Arts Management Entrepreneurship program at The New School.
In an age marked by social and technological change, Deborah Rutter has emerged as one of the nation’s most adroit leaders in the arts, combining artistic daring with fiscal sustainability, inclusivity, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. Rutter began as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on September 1, 2014, and serves as curator of the Kennedy presidential memorial, and artistic and administrative director to the world’s busiest performing arts center. In an ever-expanding celebration of JFK’s legacy, the Center presents theater, contemporary dance, ballet, vocal music, chamber music, Hip Hop, comedy, international arts, and jazz, alongside dynamic seasons with the Kennedy Center’s world-class affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. As the work of a living memorial is never finished, Rutter is advancing the Center’s commitment to 21st-century programming. In her first year at the Kennedy Center, Rutter broke ground on a transformative arts facility, the REACH, which provides flexible indoor and outdoor performance space to nurture new art, community, innovation, arts education, and informal encounters between the artist and the public. Designed by renowned architect Steven Holl, the REACH graces the southern end of the campus and connects the Kennedy Center to the popular pedestrian and bicycle trail along the Potomac River. Working at the vanguard of community engagement, Rutter manages one of the nation’s most extensive arts education networks, reaching millions of people of all ages across all 50 states with live performances, as well as providing multidisciplinary arts training and support to schools, students, children at risk, teachers, artists, and civic leaders. Today, Rutter is reshaping Kennedy Center offerings to include more artist-led programming while challenging people across the industry to reimagine creative expression through the lens of cross-disciplinary collaborations. Prior to her position as the Center’s President, Rutter served as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. She has also served as executive director of the Seattle Symphony, executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestra manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Marc A. Scorca joined OPERA America in 1990 as president/CEO. Since then, OPERA America has awarded nearly $20 million in grants to member companies and their partners to support the creation and production of new work, encourage innovative practices in all areas of administration and production, increase civic practice and audience development activities, and promote racial justice across the industry. During this time, membership in OPERA America has increased from 120 opera companies to nearly 2,500 organizations and individuals, with another 18,000 subscribers receiving a variety of free and fee-based services.
In December 2005, as the first step in the establishment of a National Opera Center, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Since opening in September 2012, the custom-built National Opera Center has increased communication and collaboration with and among members both locally and nationally. Hosting 80,000 visitors annually, the Opera Center provides a number of unique facilities and related services for organizations and artists that have never before been available under one roof.
Scorca conducts strategic planning retreats for opera companies and other cultural institutions internationally, and he has participated on panels for federal, state and local funding agencies, as well as for numerous private organizations. A strong advocate of collaboration, he led the Performing Arts Research Coalition (2000 to 2003) and the National Performing Arts Convention (2004 and 2008). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Performing Arts Alliance and on the Music Advisory Board of Hunter College (CUNY), and on the Boards of the Association for Opera in Canada, Opera Europa and Ópera Latinoamérica. Scorca has also served on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Board of Overseers of the Curtis Institute of Music. He appears frequently in the media on a variety of cultural issues.
Scorca attended Amherst College, graduating with high honors in both history and music. An internship at the Metropolitan Opera lasted through his college years, after which he held positions at the Opera Company of Philadelphia (now known as Opera Philadelphia), New York City Opera and Chicago Opera Theater before joining OPERA America.
Simon Woods joined the League of American Orchestras as President and CEO in September 2020.
Born in London, England, Woods earned a degree in music from Cambridge University and a diploma in conducting from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
From the late 1980s to the late 1990s, he worked as a record producer at EMI Classics in London, where he initiated and produced recordings at Abbey Road Studios and on location with many of the world’s foremost classical artists and ensembles.
From 1997 to 2004, he was Artistic Administrator and later Vice President of Artistic Planning & Operations at The Philadelphia Orchestra. From 2004 to 2005, he was President & CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, before moving back to the UK in 2005 to become Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one of the United Kingdom’s leading symphony orchestras.
Returning to the US in 2011, he became President & CEO of the Seattle Symphony, a post he held for seven years. In November 2017, Woods was appointed CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a post he held until September 2019. From February to August 2020, Woods was Interim Executive Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Woods brings more than 30 years of experience working with orchestras. He is deeply committed to equity, to the role of arts organizations in community, and to nurturing the next generation of arts leaders. He is known throughout the sector as a highly trusted mentor to orchestra management professionals, emerging leaders, and conductors. For two decades he has contributed to the League of American Orchestras’ professional development programs, including acting as Director of the League’s signature immersive training program, Essentials of Orchestra Management. In March 2020 he joined the Board of Directors of National Arts Strategies.