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    After a whole missed season, bankruptcy, and lots of turbulence to go with it, the Louisville Orchestra has reached the half-way point of its 75th Season. With the start of a new year the orchestra will be starting anew with the stepping down of its CEO Robert Birman effective February 1st. According to the Louisville Orchestra’s press release, Birman allegedly met with the Board’s Executive Committee last week and proposed the change alluding that new leadership would benefit the orchestra and help propel the Orchestra’s future without any burden of past tensions.

    "I'm proud of the Louisville Orchestra, its legacy, and the musicians who contribute so much to the vitality of our community.  As we mark the half-way point of the Orchestra's 75th season and the start of the New Year, I decided with my family that this is a natural time for us to move forward as the Orchestra's concerts are flourishing once again, the planning for our new season is complete, and we anticipate the delivery of a multi-year labor agreement by the end of this quarter," said Birman.  "Given our significant progress, this feels like the right time for me to step aside with confidence knowing that the entire focus now can be squarely on the Orchestra's future."

    Maisch’s response to Birman’s departure was one of questionable dejection, "The Orchestra, the staff and its board are extremely saddened to see Rob go. He has been a courageous partner with an extraordinary dedication and resolve.  We are grateful that he endured the arduous process of rebalancing the Orchestra's cost model during the worst economic climate in our history, and remained to initiate the return of our concerts and educational programming.  He is a fearless leader and will be dearly missed." I highly doubt many of the musicians are honestly sad to see Birman step down although Kim Technor, chair of the Louisville Orchestra Musician Committee, had nothing but diplomatic and cordial words about his departure, "Despite our disagreements through the years, we always knew that Rob was acting in what he believed was in the best interest of the Orchestra. We wish him well in the future." A new CEO has not officially been announced, and the Board will appoint an interim-CEO until a new one can be found.

    This is probably not the only personnel change we will see happen, and I suspect great changes for the orchestra in the future, changes that will undoubtedly propel the Orchestra in the right direction.

    Photo: courtesy of Louisville Orchestra website

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    About Anna Blanton

    Anna Blanton holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music (violin) and a Minor in Marketing from the University of Louisville. Anna currently plays with the Paducah Symphony, Southern Sirens, and The Porch Possums. She is also organizes the backup string section for the Beatles festival, Abbey Road on the River.

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