Louisville Orchestra names Jacksonville Symphony’s Robert Massey CEO

Robert Massey | Photo by Renee Parenteau

The Louisville Orchestra’s national search for a new chief executive is over, as the organization has offered the position to Robert Massey, the former head of the Jacksonville Symphony.

He fills the vacancy left by Andrew Kipe in August of 2018, who left for a job with the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore.

According to a news release, Massey is known for his remarkable transformations of orchestras, which include the Orchestra Iowa as well as the Washington Bach Consort. Additionally, he is well-versed in developing and implementing innovative strategies that enhance and diversify program offerings, increase accessibility, extend reach and ensure financial sustainability.

“Our national search brought several candidates to our attention, and Robert rose to the top because of his commitment to community and extensive experience managing growth with the orchestras under his leadership,” said Louisville Orchestra Board President John Malloy in the news release.

If you need figures as proof, Massey has raised more than $200 million for his endeavors and has built and restored three performing arts venues throughout his career. He also led a campaign that saved Orchestra Iowa and Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre following flooding in 2008.

“Robert is a world-class leader in the orchestra world, and he and I share a transformative creative vision for the future of the LO and the arts in our community,” said Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams in the release. “We are very fortunate to have Robert’s exceptional talent and experience guiding us as the LO continues to grow artistically and institutionally.”

Massey said he’s thrilled to come to Louisville, as it’s an orchestra he’s heard about since he was a young musician (he played the trumpet).

“I admire the spirit of adventure and creativity that Teddy brings to the podium and am impressed with the talents of the members of the orchestra,” said Massey in the release. “I’m honored to join an orchestra that is part of a vibrant and collaborative arts community. My family and I are looking forward to exploring our new home, and I’m personally devoted to building my inventory of fine bourbons.”

Massey will start his new role in March.