US orchestra chief quits within a year

US orchestra chief quits within a year


norman lebrecht

February 15, 2020

Hailed on arrival by music director Teddy Abrams as a ‘world-class leader in the orchestra world’, Louisville Orchestra CEO Robert Massey has quit inside a year.

Massey said it was a mutual decision and that the job was not what he expected when he came to Louisville a year ago from Florida, where he had been the president and CEO of the Jacksonville Symphony for four years….

In an interview with The Courier Journal on Friday evening, Massey said he and the orchestra’s board members examined the organization’s vision and strategies and realized they weren’t aligned.

Read on here.


  • drummerman says:

    The article is in a “pay per view” section, not available. Norman, could you possibly make it readable here? Of course, one has to wonder why Mr. Massey didn’t read/discuss the orchestra’s vision and strategies before he accepted the job.

    • Bruce says:

      Maybe he did, and then found out he hadn’t been given an accurate picture…

      • drummerman says:

        Meaning that the board deliberately deceived him or hid information??

        • Bruce says:

          Not necessarily. Sometimes people have good intentions, but don’t realize the amount of commitment (in terms of time, manpower, and/or money) it would take to bring those to fruition. “Yes, we are committed to commissioning new music for every concert. Wait, it’s going to cost HOW much??! Well that’s impossible.”

          • ViolinOfHope says:

            I know Louisville Musicians who have expressed a lot of frustration over the music director’s expensive pet projects that advance his career at the expense of the orchestra. Massey probably assumed he was hired to run the orchestra and not be a puppet to Teddy Abrams’ rock symphony du jour.

          • Dennis says:

            Aren’t such directors typically mainly fundraisers? Perhaps he expected to have more input musically? I would think the musical part should be left to…you know, the actual musicians. For most people, Teddy Abrams is far more visible as the face of the LO than Massey or any other board members.

    • Kman says:

      It’s readable to you if you’re not using an ad blocker (i.e., use an incognito window in your browser). Nothing especially earth shattering in the article, however, other than for the purposes of press, it seems amicable.

      • Lou says:

        Other articles out of Louisville seem to point to a less than amicable split. I think there’s more to this story than this article reveals

        • Dennis says:

          Well, duh! You honestly think the real reasons are not going to be covered-over in the press with bland announcements about how “amicable” everything is? If for no other reason, each party is probably afraid of saying anything meaningful and honest out of fear of being sued.

    • Dennis says:

      I’m no subscriber and the article was viewable. It doesn’t say much more substantively, to be honest than what’s already here.

      The real reasons are probably one’s nobody is willing to go on record about, at least not yet.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    I’m for the side unwilling to program Ghostbusters with orchestra.

  • CA says:

    Several other orchestra ceo spots are up for grabs. Look out.

  • ViolinOfHope says:

    I’ve heard Massey speak at a few conferences and think he’s one of the best orchestra managers in the business. Musicians I know in Louisville and Jacksonville love him. Louisville’s loss will be someone’s gain.