The San Luis Obispo Symphony Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Edmund Feingold as the Symphony’s new executive director. Feingold will join the orchestra on July 7, 2014. He succeeds Jim Black who left the organization in December 2014. Maryellen Simkins has been serving as the Symphony’s Interim Executive Director since Black’s departure.
Feingold’s extensive experience in arts administration has garnered him the executive director post at three arts organizations – Boston Musica viva, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and most recently, the Monterey Symphony. In these positions he honed his skills and stabilized these organizations by successfully negotiating complex union contracts, restructuring staff responsibilities and developing new projects while maintaining a balanced budget. He also executed numerous substantial fundraising campaigns.
In addition to his administrative duties, Feingold has channeled his creative energies to design, market, manage and implement projects such as, “Play Me, I’m Yours – Monterey 2013.” This collaborative art/music installation was part of an internationally touring artwork devised by British artist, Luke Jerram. Feingold’s vision and interpretation of the instillation included 10 Street Pianos that were designed and decorated by local artists and community groups and placed in streets and public spaces across Monterey County for the public to play and enjoy. More than 10,000 residents and visitors in Monterey County engaged in this powerful music education project. This extremely successful 15-day event provided the symphony with unprecedented press coverage and tremendous institutional goodwill. At the end of the project a majority of the pianos were donated to local causes and community groups.
“From my first encounter with the San Luis Obispo Symphony during its Mission Concert Series to my most recent at the 50th Anniversary Youth Symphony celebration, I have been struck by the dear connection of these orchestras to the community,” Feingold said. “Few regions the size of San Luis Obispo enjoy such a rich and ongoing tradition of arts, culture and place, and few institutions blend these traditions so well as our Symphony into one community of musicians, novice to expert. I am honored to bring my experience to these orchestras, to lead its dedicated staff and to help enhance the quality of life for all in the Happiest Place to Live. We have some exciting years ahead.”
“Ed is a proven leader in our field,” said Symphony Board President, India D’Avignon. “In his many years of experience with both Youth Symphonies and Symphony Orchestras, he has established himself as a strategic thinker and an inspirational manager. His is well suited to ensure a smooth transition for our organization and establish strong partnerships with our board, music director, staff, musicians, patrons and our community. Ed has created enthusiasm for symphonic music in each community he has served and with his level of energy and passion, I am certain that the San Luis Obispo Symphony will flourish under his leadership for many years to come. We are very enthusiastic about the future knowing that Ed is at the helm.”
Feingold has more than 20 years of experience working in performing arts and education administration. His career has focused on the development of creative solutions that strengthen performing arts institutions. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts in music (1993) and an MBA in public and non-profit management (1998) from Boston University. He began his career in ballet and theater administration at the Huntington Theater Company and Boston Ballet then followed with management positions at Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (1998 – 2002), Boston Musica Viva (2002 – 2006), the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (2006 – 2011). Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Monterey Symphony where he helped facilitate financial stability and improve the orchestra’s authentic connection to the community. Feingold also served on the Board of the Illinois Council of Orchestras and at the request of former Chicago Mayor Daley’s administration on the City of Chicago’s City Arts Grant committee. Feingold believes strongly in the transformative power of art, the value of cultural collaboration and the importance of maintaining a strong creative infrastructure in a healthy society.
Since its founding in 1961, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has been an artistic, economic, educational and community-minded force on the Central Coast. The Symphony’s concert season and events include Classics in the Cohan at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo, a chamber music series in intimate venues around the county, special concerts for families and children and the annual Pops by the Sea concert in Avila Beach. Symphony music education programs reach more than 16,000 children and adults every year with a variety of programs providing performance, outreach and experience activities for all ages.