DSO Appoints Managing Director of Community Programs

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Kareem GeorgeDETROIT, (September 6, 2011) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has announced that Kareem George, formerly Director of Leadership Gifts and Planned Giving at the DSO, has been appointed Managing Director of Community Programs.

In this role he will be responsible for the conception and execution of all programming involving DSO musicians outside of Orchestra Hall and the Max M. Fisher Music Center, including the DSO Neighborhood Initiative Program, community concerts, chamber music series, in-school performances, new music performances, and other DSO projects. George is tasked with realizing the DSO’s goal to broaden its base of support in key communities that represent diversity of ethnicity, economy, age and other cultural factors.

“Kareem has long aspired to lead in the field of orchestra management. This shift in responsibilities at the DSO is a natural next step in his professional journey,” said Anne Parsons, DSO president and CEO. “It coincides perfectly with our institutional need to identify someone to focus on the design, coordination and execution of our extensive work involving musicians, community partners, and programming aimed to bring increased value to an ever-growing audience.”

As Managing Director of Community Programs, George will round-out his extensive experience in arts administration by overseeing to the DSO’s community engagement initiatives — one of the aspects that impressed him most about the organization when he was visiting as a League of American Orchestras (LAO) orchestra management fellow in 2006. “The DSO’s positioning in the metro Detroit region was unique,” he said. “It was immediately clear that Detroit was connecting to the community in ways I had not seen before.” George began work at the DSO three years ago as Director of Endowment Support and has since served as the senior development team member, overseeing individual giving programs, the legacy giving program, acting as development liaison to the President, and last year achieved fundraising results of $2.3M (Board) and $1.7M (Governing Members).

While George’s aspirations are to eventually become an executive director of a major American orchestra, passion for arts administration was nurtured through his talents as a musician. After earning his undergraduate degree in Musicology specializing in 18th century Prussia from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, he completed graduate work in Flute Performance, an instrument he had played since age 12, at Chicago College of Performing Arts and Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst in Germany. His career path turned to management when he developed focal dystonia during his masters studies, an often career-ending performance injury that affects repetitive finger movement.

His career behind-the-scenes began with internships at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he assisted in the artistic department and at the Chicago Philharmonic, where he helped build the governing board. After completing the Essentials of Orchestral Management course with the LAO, George applied for the LAO fellowship that allowed him to work with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and of course, the DSO, where he helped put together the 2006 Annual Report under the mentorship of President Anne Parsons.

By the time he took his “first real job” as Audience Development Director at the Pacific Symphony in California, George was already versed in many areas of management, including development, planned giving, international touring, artistic administration and performance. Charged with creating a pipeline for earned revenue and putting together concert packages, he considered the position an opportunity to strengthen a largely unexplored area: marketing.

George looks forward to combining his experience in performance and administration toward this new opportunity as Managing Director of Community Programs in order to work collaboratively to shape the way the DSO connects with the Metro Detroit area, as the organization establishes its reputation as a community-supported orchestra.

Originally from New York City, George is a self-proclaimed tennis fanatic—“I play nearly every day,” he said—and enjoys dining out, cooking and international travel, something he claims is a bridge between unabashed leisure and his thirst to hear orchestras around the world.

Mr. George begins his new assignment on Monday, September 20.

About the DSO

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists.  Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season.  The DSO offers a performance schedule that includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young people’s concerts and festivals.  The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music.  For more information visit www.dso.org

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