Asheville Symphony Orchestra announces departure of executive director David Whitehill

David Whitehill. Image courtesy of Asheville Symphony Orchestra

Newsletter announcement from Asheville Symphony Orchestra:

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra would like to announce that Executive Director, David Whitehill will leave the ASO on January 31 to become the President and CEO of ArtsinStark, the 50 year old community arts council in Canton, Ohio.

Bolling Farmer, President of the Board of the Asheville Symphony Society comments, “The Board of Directors thanks David Whitehill for his stellar leadership in collaboration with Music Director Darko Butorac, the ASO musicians, staff, and the Asheville community for making our symphony strong and vibrant. We congratulate David and wish him and his family the best in their move to Canton, Ohio.”

Whitehill, named by Musical America Magazine as one of the top 30 music professionals in 2019, came to the Asheville Symphony in 2012 following five years as Executive Director of the Bangor Symphony in Maine and earlier positions with the Pacific Symphony and Philharmonic Society of Orange County, both in California. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras.

Under Whitehill’s leadership, the ASO launched the biennial Asheville Amadeus Festival that has engaged tens of thousands of arts patrons and featured pianists Emanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson and violinist Midori. It greatly expanded the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra program to five ensembles and created a hugely popular New Year’s Eve celebration. Further, the IDEASOUND recording initiative produced widely acclaimed recordings with Grammy Award winners Steep Canyon Rangers, Boyz II Men and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. In response to the pandemic, an innovative project has been initiated to create independent learning activities for primary school children, integrating classical music, folk lore, and cultures from around the world. The Symphony expects to make these programs available to the Asheville and Buncombe County students this spring and also offer it more broadly to the public.

ArtsinStark serves as the county arts council for Stark County, Ohio. It provides funding support for 7 large resident companies and over 900 artists, small nonprofits and local schools, raising over $1.6 million annually. Located at the 50-year-old Cultural Center for the Arts, a 16 acre campus in Downtown Canton, ArtsinStark operates with a $3 million budget and converts 92 cents of each dollar raised into programming

Bolling Farmer, addressing the transition, said “John Ellis, currently a symphony board member, will serve as Interim Executive Director. We are extremely grateful to have someone of John’s wisdom and experience to take on this role. A search committee is working diligently to find a replacement for David, and we are confident that we will find another visionary leader to guide us to greater artistic and educational success.”

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