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RPO Announces Resignation of President & CEO Richard Nowlin

January 24, 2007

Nowlin accepts position at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in California; RPO in “great shape” for the future

Rochester, NY– The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announces today that its President & CEO Richard Nowlin will be resigning from his position to take the post of Executive Director of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California. 

In a letter to the board, staff, conductors and musicians, Mr. Nowlin thanked everyone for all the good work that has been done over the past year and decade since he took the RPO position in 1996.  “I will treasure the continuing friendship and support of so many exceptional colleagues” he went on to say, “and will always be grateful for the honor of having served as CEO of this community’s great orchestra.” Nowlin explained that he was ready for a new challenge in his life, but assured the RPO community that one of his priorities is to help make the transition to new leadership as smooth and seamless as possible.  To that end, he will be staying on with the RPO for the next couple of months before he makes his move out West.

Board Chair James Boucher says he will be sorry to see Mr. Nowlin leaving the organization, but is confident that the RPO is in a healthy position and ready to continue its success into the future.  “Under Rick’s leadership, we’ve just realized a surplus year, with increases in ticket sales, concert attendance, contributed revenue and endowment earnings, as well as rich artistic accomplishments.  With Rick’s guidance, we have come through a visioning process and now have a strategic plan which provides the necessary direction to move forward in only the most positive way.” 

Nowlin, now 45, was appointed as President & CEO of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1996, after holding the position as director of marketing during the previous three years. Prior to that time, he held marketing positions with the Lexington Philharmonic and Louisville Orchestra.  Under Nowlin’s decade-long tenure, the RPO achieved nine years of balanced operating budgets, grew the budget from $5.6 to over $9.1 million, saw an endowment growth from $6.7 to $19.4 million, guided the search for Music Director Christopher Seaman, re-established the Orchestra’s recording program and increased the number and variety of concerts in expanded venues, among many other accomplishments.

The Wells Fargo Center is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 performances, festivals and events to 500,000 residents and visitors annually.  The Wells Fargo Center campus features two theaters, a cabaret, outdoor festival grounds and contemporary sculpture.  As Executive Director, Nowlin will be overseeing Fund Development, Programming, Finance/HR, Administration, Facilities Planning, Events, Public Relations, and long-range Strategic Planning.

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.

Note:   Interviews with Mr. Nowlin are available on request, as is a digital photo.


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