Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Laco) Names Accomplished Arts Executive Scott Harrison New Executive Director
Harrison, Who Assumes Post on October 6, 2015, Joins LACO From Detroit Symphony Orchestra Where He Served as Vice President for Advancement & External Relations and Worked Previously with Major American Orchestras Including Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra
August 20, 2015 — Accomplished arts executive Scott Harrison has been appointed Executive Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), announces LACO Board President Dana Newman. Harrison, who assumes his post on October 6, 2015, handles responsibility for providing the vision, strategic direction and oversight of the organization. Led by Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, LACO is considered one of the world's premier chamber orchestras. Harrison comes to LACO from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) where he served as Vice President for Advancement and External Relations. Having joined DSO in 2010 as Senior Director of Patron Engagement and Loyalty Programs, he was promoted to Executive Director of Board Engagement and Strategy in 2013 and to the Vice President role in 2014. Harrison's extensive background with major orchestras also includes work with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, New Jersey, Dallas and Boston. A bassoonist earlier in his career, Harrison performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, Shreveport Symphony and Dallas Wind Symphony, among others, in addition to performing on tour in the United Kingdom, Europe and Latin America. He has taught bassoon in the US, Haiti, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
"Scott Harrison brings an enormous wealth of experience in the orchestra world to this position with LACO," says Newman. "His remarkable leadership of Detroit Symphony Orchestra's fundraising and communications arm through a very challenging period in that organization's history gave all of us on the executive search committee great confidence in his potential to take LACO to the next level in its evolution. We were especially excited by his ability to inspire and invigorate board leadership and to foster collaboration among board members, staff and musicians. Scott's successes promoting audience development, digital media initiatives and educational programs singled him out as a strategic, forward-looking thinker, essential qualities for orchestra management in the 21st century. As one of Southern California's musical treasures, LACO strives to distinguish itself on an international scale, and Scott certainly has the background, energy and vision to make that a reality."
"I am absolutely delighted to welcome Scott Harrison to his new role with LACO," says Kahane. "I am extremely eager to begin working in partnership with him as I begin my final two seasons as Music Director. I have been immensely impressed by Scott's passion, dedication and keen intelligence, and I believe that the combination of his extensive musical training and professional experience as both an orchestral and chamber musician with his exceptional track record in management with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and elsewhere make him an ideal leader for LACO as it heads into its second half-century."
"I'm thrilled to join the LACO family at such an exciting time in the organization's history," says Harrison. "With the 50th anniversary around the corner, this is a time to celebrate a distinguished legacy while finding new ways to share our music with more and broader audiences. I was first attracted to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra because of the artistry of the LACO musicians, the joy they bring to the stage and the superb guest artists that perform with the ensemble. But as I learned more about the flexibility, diversity, intimacy and personality at the heart of LACO's music making and community efforts, I knew I belonged at this Orchestra. After the warmth shown us by multiple board members, patrons, orchestra members and staff, and in particular Music Director Jeffrey Kahane and Board President Dana Newman, my wife Angela and I are eagerly anticipating our move to LA and the start of LACO's season."
SCOTT HARRISON comes to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra after five years at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he most recently served as Vice President of Advancement and External Relations. As the DSO's chief fundraising and communications officer, he was charged with meeting multi-million dollar contributed revenue goals while developing strategies to build the DSO's local and global reputation. In 2011, while serving as Executive Producer of Digital Media, Harrison led the launch of the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series. With performances by artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Terence Blanchard and Hilary Hahn, and music from living composers including Mason Bates, John Corigliano, Gabriela Lena Frank, Missy Mazzoli and Krzysztof Penderecki, Live from Orchestra Hall has been viewed in over 100 countries by 750,000 viewers and has received accolades from The New York Times, Gramophone Magazine, Bloomberg TV, Guardian and more. Over 100,000 students to date have tuned into Live from Orchestra Hall's Classroom Edition webcasts produced specifically for youth audiences. Harrison's accomplishments at the DSO include partnering with artistic leadership, funders and civic organizations to launch the record-selling Beethoven and Tchaikovsky festivals; outdoor concert projections during the Dlectricity festival; the city-wide, crowd-sourced composition Symphony in D; and the @ the Max alternative performance series featuring a new generation of alt-classical artists. He also led a governance transformation that culminated in a new board structure and heightened levels of engagement across volunteers, musicians and staff; worked with the Recapitalization Task Force to develop the institution's ten-year financial framework balancing resource capacity with mission-driven investment; served on the team that established the framework for the DSO's regularly sold-out chamber orchestra series; supported the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in developing the DSO's first diversity vision statement, and led the patron engagement team in rebuilding subscription and donor levels, as well as patron confidence, to pre-recession levels. Originally from Long Island, Harrison fell in love with music thanks to the dedicated teachers and strong music program of his local public school district. With degrees in bassoon and political science from Northwestern University and Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts, he began his career at the Dallas and Boston symphony orchestras before becoming Manager of Community Programs at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, where he planned and presented chamber music performances and educational activities throughout the state. He then joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) as Associate Director of Marketing and New Media, overseeing four seasons of consecutive sales growth and launching the ISO's online listening library and mobile app. Harrison has presented at conferences for the League of American Orchestras, the Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras, the Tessitura Network and Arts Midwest, and has served as a grant panelist for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Deeply committed to music education for all and the power of cultural diplomacy, Harrison serves as a founding board member of BLUME Haiti. He has traveled regularly to Haiti to engage in capacity building for music programs throughout the country, and has taught and performed in the Dominican Republic and Honduras, as well as back home in the US. He serves on the advisory boards of the Fifth House Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber music ensemble, and Detroit Passport to the Arts, a program focused on introducing new audiences to the arts. Harrison and his wife Angela, an arts fundraising and direct mail consultant, will make their home in downtown Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, proclaimed "America's finest chamber orchestra" by Public Radio International and "resplendent" by the Los Angeles Times, has established itself among the world's top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as "visionary" and "a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity" with "undeniable charisma," "effortless musicality and extraordinary communicative gifts." Under Kahane's leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its almost 50-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents its Orchestral Series on Saturdays at Glendale's Alex Theatre and on Sundays at UCLA's Royce Hall; Baroque Conversations at downtown Los Angeles' Zipper Concert Hall and USC's Bovard Auditorium; Westside Connections chamber music series, designed to illustrate the relationship between music and other artistic disciplines, at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica; and an annual Discover concert, which features an in-depth examination that sheds new light on a single piece of music, at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium. LACO also presents a Concert Gala, an annual film event, featuring the Orchestra performing the score live, and several fundraising salons each year. Additionally, LACO outreach programs, Meet the Music, Community Partners, Campus to Concert Hall and the LACO/USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program, reach thousands of young people annually, nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music.
LACO launches its 2015-16 season when celebrated Music Director Jeffrey Kahane conducts a program featuring the world premiere of Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, a joyous percussive work by rising Los Angeles-based composer Derrick Spiva, and the highly anticipated West Coast debut of violinist Michael Barenboim, son of legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim, on Saturday, September 19, 8 pm, at Glendale's Alex Theatre, and Sunday, September 20, 7 pm, at UCLA's Royce Hall. For more information, visit laco.org.