The Louisville Orchestra is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Massey as Chief Executive Officer. He will start his new position in March 2019. Massey follows Andrew Kipe in this leadership role. Kipe took a position with The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in August 2018.
Mr. Massey has built a reputation as one of classical music’s most innovative, dynamic, visionary, and entrepreneurial leaders. As the head of the Jacksonville Symphony (2014 – 2019), Orchestra Iowa (2008 – 2014), and the Washington Bach Consort (2004 – 2008), he led remarkable transformations at each, developing and implementing innovative strategies that enhanced and diversified program offerings, increased accessibility, extended reach, deepened impact, and ensured financial sustainability.
Louisville Orchestra Board President John Malloy says, “Our national search brought several candidates to our attention and Robert rose to the top because of his commitment to community and extensive experience managing growth with the orchestras under his leadership.”
Throughout his career, Massey has raised more than $200 million for artistic initiatives, built and restored three performing arts venues, successfully negotiated several labor agreements, and has notably enhanced the cultural landscape through new creations, collaborative partnerships, and innovative business models. He led the campaign that saved Orchestra Iowa and Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre following catastrophic flooding in 2008.
“We are thrilled to welcome Robert Massey to the Louisville Orchestra family,” says LO Music Director, Teddy Abrams. “Robert is a world-class leader in the orchestra world, and he and I share a transformative creative vision for the future of the LO and the arts in our community. We are very fortunate to have Robert’s exceptional talent and experience guiding us as the LO continues to grow artistically and institutionally.”
Mr. Massey began his journey in the arts by discovering trumpet at an early age. Music education and participation in the local youth symphony inspired him to pursue it as a career. While still a teenager, he began playing with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and was later a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He holds a bachelor of music degree from Boston’s New England Conservatory and was a Beebe Fellow at the famed Paris Conservatory.
“I’ve been hearing about the Louisville Orchestra since I was a young musician,” says Massey. “I admire the spirit of adventure and creativity that Teddy brings to the podium and am impressed with the talents of the members of the orchestra. I’m honored to join an orchestra that is part of a vibrant and collaborative arts community. My family and I are looking forward to exploring our new home, and I’m personally devoted to building my inventory of fine bourbons!”
In addition to his work with symphony orchestras, Massey has served multiple arts disciplines including opera (Washington National Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre), ballet (Ballet Quad Cities, Ballet Memphis), performing arts centers (Kennedy Center, Paramount Theatre, Germantown Performing Arts Centre), museums (The Phillips Collection), and “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. When not serving as a change agent for cultural institutions, Massey enjoys reading, running, and spending time with his family. He is married to violist Lisa Ponton and the couple has a thirteen- year-old daughter.