Just in: Chicago hires Italian to support Muti role

Just in: Chicago hires Italian to support Muti role


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2015

No surprise that the new artistic administrator speaks the Maestro’s lingo.

Press release below:




CHICAGO—Jeff Alexander, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association from January 12, 2015, announced today the appointment of Cristina Rocca to the position of Vice President for Artistic Planning, the Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair, effective March 16, 2015. Rocca replaces Martha S. Gilmer, who left the CSOA in September to become Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Symphony.

In her new role, Rocca will design and execute the artistic plans and vision for the CSOA, working closely with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Riccardo Muti and CSOA President Jeff Alexander to develop innovative programs and to engage guest artists for the CSO.

She will also collaborate with the CSOA’s Director of Programming in the presentation of guest artists and ensembles from a wide variety of genres—classical, jazz, world, and contemporary—annually offered as part of the CSOA’s prestigious presenting series, Symphony Center Presents.

Born in Bologna, Italy, Rocca currently serves as Artistic Director, Orchestre National de France, a post she has held since September 2012. Before that, she was Director of Artistic Planning for the Cleveland Orchestra. She also has been the Artistic Manager, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; Head of Concerts and Programming, Bournemouth Symphony; and Head of Artistic Planning, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Rocca is known for her strong skills in orchestral arts administration, her collegiality and professionalism and her deep knowledge of and experience with classical music repertoire and artists, many of whom the CSO engages regularly. She is fluent in English, French and Italian.

Her numerous accomplishments include widening and diversifying the repertoire and pool of visiting artists at the Orchestre National de France, where she worked alongside Music Director Daniele Gatti to enhance the orchestra’s position nationally and internationally. There she also strengthened relationships with the ARTE, Medici and Mezzo television and web companies. In Cleveland, Rocca’s knowledge of and experience in the European music world helped contribute to the success and diversification of the orchestra’s programming at home and on tour.

In announcing Rocca’s appointment, Alexander said, “It became clear during the search process to fill this very important position that Cristina Rocca’s background, experience, artistic sensibilities and personal qualities were exactly what we were looking for. Her reputation with artists and artist managers in the United States and internationally is impeccable. I am pleased to welcome Cristina to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, and look forward to working with her.”

Riccardo Muti, Music Director of the CSO, said, “I am very happy that Cristina Rocca has accepted the position of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Vice President for Artistic Planning. She is someone I have known well for many years and is a person of great experience and professionalism. She will be a wonderful addition to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra family.”

Said Rocca, ‘I feel privileged and honored.’


  • Eleanor Hope says:

    Lucky Chicago! Many congratulations to Cristina on her appointment and to the Chicago Symphony and Maestro Muti on their brilliant choice!

  • Judy says:

    Another foreigner gets a job in the states when there are plenty of Artistic Coordinators and Associate Artistic Administrators and Artistic Administrators who are primed for this job and ready to move up in the world. Good for her; but it’s about time U.S. citizens get priority; especially when there are VERY capable people. Between this and all of the consultants now being hired to plan artistic seasons…