June 18, 2015

RPO Announces Leadership Transition

The RPO announced yesterday that Charles Owens, its President and Chief Executive Officer, will step down from his roles on September 30, 2015. Some of our social media fans alerted us that they were having difficulties accessing the press release on mobile devices, so we have pasted the full text of the release here on our blog.

Note: The full press release is available online at rpo.org/news

Charles Owens will complete his tenure in September 2015; national search to commence

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announced today that Charles Owens, its President and Chief Executive Officer, will step down from his roles on September 30, 2015. Owens, who has been at the Orchestra’s helm since 2007, will leave his post after both Philharmonics and Pops 2015-16 season opening weekends have launched this fall, and will serve as a consultant for the remainder of 2015.

“It has been an honor to serve as President of this world-class Orchestra for most of the past decade,” said Owens. “Our conductors and musicians are extraordinary, and our board, volunteers, patrons, donors and staff are remarkable. I am proud to have accomplished so much together with them over the years. Now that our artistic transition is complete and the visionary Ward Stare is our new Music Director, the time is right for the Orchestra’s next leadership change.”

During his tenure, Owens led a team that implemented many successful and innovative ventures. Most recently, the RPO finished its 2014-15 season with record-breaking ticket sales and ticket revenue growth, and tremendous momentum going into Ward Stare’s inaugural season as Music Director. Owens is known for his commitment to bring major guest artists—such as Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Audra McDonald, Video Games Live and others—to Rochester. He has also partnered with several composers to commission new orchestra works for the RPO to perform, as well as overseeing four national recording projects.

“The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been so fortunate to have Charlie’s leadership,” said Dawn Lipson, Chair of the Board of Directors. “He is deeply dedicated to the Orchestra, to our community, and to ensuring a stronger future for the arts. We are saddened by his decision to leave the RPO, but we’re grateful that he has helped to build such a strong foundation for our next President and CEO.”

Under Owens’ leadership, the RPO returned to Carnegie Hall in 2014 for the first time in three decades, and raised nearly a half-million dollars for this milestone performance. Owens’ tenure with the RPO was also highlighted by the many vital and creative partnerships formed with numerous local arts organizations—most notably, the Eastman School of Music, where the RPO served as a fundraising partner for the landmark Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre multi-million dollar renovations and Eastman East Wing expansion. Owens and the RPO have helped make the City of Rochester’s Fourth of July concert an annual destination for tens of thousands who look forward to the Orchestra’s free performance.

A national search for Owens’ successor will begin immediately.

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