Who? Gregg W. Gustafson is our orchestra's new and energetic Executive Director.
Louisville Music News recently visited with him. We found him well informed and informative, pleasant but determined and hard working. His work day begins around 8 a.m. and he often does not leave his desk till 6 p.m. But even then he takes his correspondence and other written work home, "I find there is more quiet and no interruptions. I write best under those circumstances."
A usual day will find him lunching with members of art groups, businessmen (often potential contributors) and board members. Somehow he also gets in forty to sixty phone calls and then there are staff personnel, orchestra members and others who want some of his time.
"I want people to realize that here we have two bottom lines; each is equally important," Gustafson noted. "One is the artistic bottom line; the other is the financial one. I'm here to see that each works to help the other.
"We want and need to sell more subscription tickets. We lose time and money if we put too much energy and time[into] selling tickets to individual concerts."
"I am finding that there is great and extensive support for our orchestra but people want to know it is running in competent fashion. Part of doing that is my present task of rebuilding the staff.
"We are also making changes on the board. I want to make sure that each board member realizes that what he or she does is making a difference! This orchestra does have a future and we are working to get that message loud and clear!"
Gustafson's original training was to become a tuba player in a major orchestra. But as he was doing that, he found he wanted to be more active in the total picture of an orchestra, so he went back to school and got degrees and then experience in managing an orchestra. People who worked with him in Savannah credit him for improving direct communication between orchestra members and the board.
He knew of Louisville only in part. But last March, Max Bragado-Darman came to guest-conduct the Savannah Orchestra. During their conversations, he learned more and also came to see a man with whom he could work well. So he applied and got the job.
Gustafson defined their present relationship: "Max provides the artistic leadership but he shares with me all the relevant details of what that involves. For my part, I carefully brief him about the business and financial aspects of the orchestras situation. But all decisions about those phases is my responsibility and I report to the board. Max similarly reports to the Board about the artistic side. We are in continuing touch with and confer with each other."
To be continued.