Photo from The Laurel of Asheville. Hageman is in the center, under the ladder.
The Board of Directors of the Asheville Symphony announced in a press release that Steven Hageman, the Symphony’s executive director, will take on a new role within the organization at the end of this season. “He will continue to work with the Asheville Symphony during the transition and on development and other fundraising projects after the appointment of the new Executive Director,” says the press release, which also notes that a search committee will be established to identify Mr. Hageman’s successor.
Hageman joined the symphony as its 10th manager in 1997. In 2010, at the onset of the Symphony’s 50th anniversary season, he told Xpress, “I don’t think it’s a secret that nonprofit arts programs are struggling. Savannah lost its symphony 10 years ago, Charleston is reorganizing this year, the North Carolina Symphony itself had to get a special allocation from the state this year. They’re deeply in debt. We try to keep ourselves fiscally responsible.” In fact, it’s Hageman’s background as a businessman and his focus on the Symphony’s financials that have led to the organization’s successes. Some of these include reintroducing the Labor Day free concert in Pack Square Park, the continuation of the Symphony’s Strings in Schools program, the hiring of current conductor and music director Daniel Meyer and collaborations with local arts organizations such as NC Stage.
According to the press releases, “During his tenure, Mr. Hageman worked with the search committee in 2003 to find a new Music Director after the twenty–two year leadership of Robert Hart Baker. Working with Music Director Daniel Meyer, the Asheville Symphony increased the number of Masterworks concerts from six performances to seven, added two Young People’s Concerts and, just recently, performed a free outdoor Labor Day concert for the community. Hageman was successful in acquiring funding through grants and donations for a stage extension and new lighting in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and the purchase of a Steinway piano last year.”
The Asheville Symphony has benefited from Hageman’s leadership, and will certainly be hard to replace. “Steve’s professionalism, business expertise and love of classical music have been the perfect combination for his success in leading our organization to become the outstanding arts organization it is today,” says Carolyn Hubbard, Symphony board president.