Arts and Humanities
2:22 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Louisville Orchestra Names David Hyslop Interim CEO, James Welch Board President-Elect

David Hyslop
Credit Photo Gittings

The Louisville Orchestra named arts consultant and orchestra veteran David Hyslop interim CEO at a board of directors meeting today. Hyslop will serve as interim CEO while the Orchestra conducts a national search. Current CEO Robert Birman announced his resignation earlier this month. Birman's last day in office will be Friday, after which Hyslop will begin his interim term.

Hyslop's long career in the arts includes a combined 32 years at the helm of three prominent orchestras--Minnesota Orchestra (1991-2003), St. Louis Symphony (1978-1991) and Oregon Symphony (1972-78). He recently served as interim CEO of Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2011-12) during their leadership search. 

Hyslop is an active arts consultant, and his firm Hyslop & Associates has consulted on executive searches, strategic planning and fundraising campaign studies. 

The board also appointed new board member and Brown-Forman vice chairman James Welch president-elect. Welch will assume the office when  Chuck Maisch steps down from his extended term as board president, presumably in March when anew multi-year labor contract with the musicians is expected to be signed. 

James Welch
Credit Brown-Forman

Welch says Hyslop will play a key role in helping the board and the orchestra musicians move the organization forward. 

“I’m very impressed, obviously, with his background and experience," says Welch. "He’s been a successful arts leader in St. Louis and Minnesota, and then importantly, has helped other orchestras who are looking for a new future as well.”

Welch says now the orchestra is experiencing "tremendous positive momentum,"  coming back from a troubled period characterized by bankruptcy, labor disputes and a canceled season.

“Everyone seems to be coming together around a shared purpose and a shared goal for the future," he says. "I think management, the board and musicians all want to have musical excellence, to have audience excitement and financial sustainability.”

The orchestra has struggled to regain its footing with audiences after the organization canceled its 2011-12 season during the labor dispute, but Welch says the variety of the 2013-14 Classics series, which will feature a roster of six guest conductors, will pay off.

"The orchestra has been such a hallmark in our community and I’m confident that with the exciting programs we have in line for the future, that indeed our audiences will come back," says Welch. 

Four additional new board members were appointed today--philanthropist Christina "Christy" Lee Brown; Parthenon LLC president Todd Lowe,  who co-chaired the Speed Art Museum’s recent capital campaign to raise $45 million for the museum’s expansion; Fifth Third Bank Kentucky president and CEO Thomas Partridge, Brandeis Machinery and Supply Company CEO Joseph A. "Jay" Paradis III. 

In a statement,  Maisch says “Having successfully addressed the long-standing cost structure issues that challenged the sustainability of the organization, our immediate focus has been to build our board membership and support. We are so pleased that some of our community’s most successful and respected leaders have volunteered to join our board.”