A select few of the accomplished men who are often featured in The Agenda News
Lonnie G. Bunch III named Secretary of The Smithsonian Institution
Lonnie G. Bunch III was named the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in May, 2019. Bunch was the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and he previously served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society. Bunch succeeds David J. Skorton as Secretary and will be the first African-American to hold the position. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Bunch attended Howard University before transferring to American University, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in American History and African History. To form the NMAAHC, Bunch brought together dozens of influential curators and educators and amassed a collection of more than 35,000 artifacts housed in a 400,000-square-foot world class, $540 million, LEED-certified museum on the National Mall - within sight lines of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Spencer Crew, a former director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, will be the interim director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Jason Najjoum named Managing Director of Synetic Theater
Jason Najjoum was named Managing Director of Synetic Theater in March 2019.Najjoum has over a decade of experience in the arts and culture space and valuable background in the for-profit sector. A graduate of the MFA program at Yale School of Drama with an MBA from Yale School of Management, he will lead Synetic's administrative and artistic teams in supporting the vision of company co-founders Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili. Mr. Najjoum's hiring follows the planned departure of Synetic's Managing Director of over three years Linda Holder. To read more about Jason Najjoum, visithttps://synetictheater.org
Simon Godwin named Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre Company
Simon Godwin has been selected to succeed Michael Kahn as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company at the completion of the 2018-2019 Season.Mr. Godwin is currently the Associate Director at the Royal National Theatre and has previously served as Associate Director of London’s Royal Court Theatre and Associate Director at the Bristol Old Vic in the United Kingdom. When Rufus Norris became the new Artistic Director of the National Theatre in 2015, he invited Simon to become a permanent Associate. Godwin has also had a long-standing relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2016 he directed an acclaimed production of Hamlet, which toured to the Kennedy Center. His “dedication to directing inventive classical theatre in both the United Kingdom and the U.S. has not only attracted impeccably talented and diverse actors and fellow artists as collaborators, it has also earned him a reputation for making bold directorial choices that illuminate classic texts and resonate with audiences.”
Daniel Kellogg named President of Young Concert Artists
Daniel Kellogg was named President of Young Concert Artists (YCA) in February 2019; his tenure will begin on July 1.He will succeed Director Susan Wadsworth, who held the position for 58 years.She will continue as Creative Consultant through 2020-2021 & will help to plan the 60th Anniversary of YCA. Daniel Kellogg became a YCA Composer-in-Residence in 2002, and his works have been premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and other distinguished venues.
Kellogg is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music. He is the Christoffersen Composition Fellow and Professor of Composition at the University of Colorado.
Susan Wadsworth created YCA in 1961 and has identified and mentored the early careers of Emanuel Ax, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, Jeremy Denk and Anne-Marie McDermott, violinists Pinchas Zukerman, and Ani Kavafian, and composers Andrew Norman, Mason Bates, Kenji Bunch and Kevin Puts, among many others.
Chase Robinson - Director Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art
Chase F. Robinson, who is president of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a professor of Middle Eastern history and culture, has been named the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian.The two museums comprise the Smithsonian’s national Asian art museums. Mr. Robinson succeeds Julian Raby, who retired in December 2017. Richard Kurin has served as Acting Director of the museums since Raby’s retirement.Robinson assumed his new position on December 10, 2018. Mr. Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his doctorate from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Mr. Robinson was a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford andchaired its faculty board from 2003 to 2005.A scholar of Islamic history and culture, Robinson has authored or edited nine books and more than 40 articles that span the geographical and chronological breadth of the pre- and early-modern Islamic Middle East. A recent book, titled Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years (2016) was translated into Arabic and Portuguese. Mr. Robinson has commented that “The collections in the Freer and Sackler galleries, embedded as they are within the encyclopedic resources of the Smithsonian Institution, are extraordinary in their own right and powerful tools for fostering cultural understanding.”
Dr. Christopher Bell - Music Director The Washington Chorus
Christopher Bell, Music Director of The Washington Chorus, announced in May, 2019 that he will leave at the completion of his tenure in June 2020 so that he can attend to the needs of his family, who are overseas. Dr. Bell was educated at Edinburgh University and has conducted many of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland.He is well-known for his abilities working with young musicians. In 2001 Dr. Bell received a Scotsman of the Year Award for Creative Talent in appreciation for his work with singers, particularly his encouragement of young singers in Scotland. In 2003 he was awarded the Sir Charles Grove Prize for his contribution to cultural life in Scotland and throughout the U.K. In 2009 he received an honorary Master’s degree from the Open University for Services to the Arts. In November 2012 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Music (h.c.) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Thomas Colohan named Artistic Director of The Fairfax Choral Society
Thomas Colohan was named Artistic Director of the Fairfax Choral Society in Summer, 2018.The award-winning conductor, composer and teacher has been the Artistic Director of the Washington Master Chorale since its founding in 2009. Colohan has led choruses at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Washington National Cathedral, The Library of Congress, Prague’s Rudolphinum Concert Hall, and the Stephansdom in Vienna. He is active as a guest conductor, teacher and clinician and has conducted members of the Prague Radio Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the San Jose Symphony, the California Chamber Symphony, and the Richmond Symphony.He has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He previously served as Music Director for All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC, Director of Choral Activities at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, Music Director of the Santa Clara Chorale, and Founder and Artistic Director of the James River Singers in Richmond, Virginia.
Dana Marsh - Artistic Director The Washington Bach Consort
Dana Marsh was named Artistic Director of The Washington Bach Consort on August 1.Marsh's musical training began as a boy chorister at St. Thomas Choir School in New York and at Salisbury Cathedral in England. He has masters and doctoral degrees in historical musicology from the University of Oxford. In the U.K., he founded the ensemble Musica Humana Oxford (2001-2008), which toured the U.S. to critical praise. A countertenor, Marsh was a vocal soloist and consort singer in the U.S. and the U.K. (1992-2008).He recorded 15 discs with New College Choir, one of which won the Gramophone Award for Early Music in 2008. Marsh taught early music history at both Oxford and Cambridge universities and published original research and review articles through the scholarly presses of both institutions. He was Assistant Director of Music and Director of Chapel Music at Girton College Cambridge, and more recently was Canon Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. Marsh is Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Historical Performance Institute at the IndianaUniversity Jacobs School of Music, where he has directed a broad range of performances and NPR broadcasts since 2014. He recently founded the annual, peer-reviewed journal, Historical Performance (IU Press), with its first issue due this summer. Marsh has recorded for Sony, Universal, Avie, Decca, Erato, Koch International Classics, Signum and Public Radio International.
Dr. Kevin Butterfield – Executive Director The Fred W. Smith National Library
Dr. Kevin Butterfield was named executive director of The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington (Washington Library) by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in July, 2018 and began his new duties on August 1.The library is the premiere center for the study of our first President. As the executive director of the Library, Butterfield “will foster serious scholarship about George Washington and his era while also developing new and furthering existing cutting-edge academic and public programs, as well as growing the library collection.” Mount Vernon president Doug Bradburn commented that “Kevin brings a fresh set of bold ideas and vision to take the Library to the next level—He’s a great scholar, but also has the rare gift of leadership." Butterfield comes to Mount Vernon from the University of Oklahoma, where he serves as Director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and Constitutional Studies Program and holds an appointment as Wick Cary Professor and Associate Professor of Classics and Letters.
A specialist in the founding era, Butterfield boasts a lengthy list of publication and teaching credits on topics related to the founding period, including one prize-winning book about early American legal history and several articles.” Butterfield holds a B.A. in History from the University of Missouri, an M.A. in History from the College of William and Mary, and a PhD in History from Washington University in St. Louis.
Image below: Dr. Kevin Butterfield
Dr. Kevin Butterfield
James Ross - Music Director
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) Board of Trustees announced in May, 2018 that James Ross will be the ASO’s Music Director. Maestro Ross’s selection follows an extensive two-year search, which included a pool of 170 applicants from around the world. James Ross is Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra – USA at Carnegie Hall and is on the conducting faculty at the Juilliard School. He served as Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland at College Park for a distinguished 16-year tenure. Ross studied conducting with Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein.He will conduct the ASO’s 2018-2019 season, which will begin in September.The new season will commemorate the organization’s 75th Anniversary. Ross will make special appearances throughout the year with the orchestra and in tandem with other community events.
Virginia Bronze named Brian Seemann as their new music director in May, 2018. Seemann began ringing in grade school with a youth handbell choir in New Jersey. He studied composition at The Boston Conservatory and majored in urban planning at Temple University. Seemann now lives in D.C., where he is the Production Coordinator for Design Foundry, an event design and scenic company. He has led several church handbell choirs, and from 2013 to 2017 was the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. He is in his second year as Music Director for the New England Ringers. In his time away from handbells, Brian is heavily involved in other aspects of the performing arts.
Greg Prickman-Eric Weinmann Librarian/Director of Collections Folger Shakespeare Library
Greg Prickman, head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, was named Eric Weinmann Librarian and Director of Collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library in April 2018. In 2016, Prickman planned and led the exhibition of a Folger First Folio at the University of Iowa as part of the Folger's nationwide tour, The First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. Before his work at Iowa Libraries, Prickman worked at public, academic, and corporate libraries, including the Ebling Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Special Collections and Preservation Division of the Chicago Public Library. He has written many articles and book reviews and is a long-standing member of the Caxton Club of Chicago. Prickman was a 1994 graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in History and Studio Art with a printmaking focus. His MLS, with a specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts, is from Indiana University. Folger Director Michael Witmore commented that “Greg Prickman’s deep experience with special collections and ability to lead a talented staff will be a great asset to the Folger for years to come.”
Image below: Photo of Greg Prickman by Jennifer Masada.
Greg Watkins - Ensemble Director The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) has appointed Greg Watkins as the director of the Chorus’s vocal ensemble titled Seasons of Love. Mr. Watkins conductes the 16-member gospel and inspirational ensemble. Mr. Watkins is a native Washingtonian and an esteemed singer, pianist, musical director, composer and arranger, actor, voice talent, and entertainer. He is a graduate of The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University (B.M. Music Education), and a former graduate student of Catholic University, where he pursued his masters in vocal performance. Mr. Watkins is currently the artistic director for The MusicianShip Washington Youth Choir and has performed on major stages throughout DC and in international venues. Thea Kano, artistic director for the GMCW, has commented that "We are very excited to have someone with such phenomenal talent and vision as Greg Watkins join the GMCW artistic staff."
Eliot Pfanstiehl, the founder and CEO of Strathmore, retired as head of the organization in August,2018 after 37 years of service.“He has been Strathmore’s only leader and has shepherd the organization through tremendous growth—including construction of the 1,976-seat Music Center at Strathmore, the off-site venue AMP, and most recently, an announced renovation of the Music Center. He has shaped Montgomery County as an arts destination in greater Washington. The impact of his work is tremendous.”
Image below: Eliot Pfanstiehl - Photo by Kirsten Beckerman
Marcus Stenz - Principal Guest Conductor The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announced in April, 2018 the extension of Principal Guest Conductor Markus Stenz’s contract through the 2018-19 season. Stenz also serves as Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor-in-residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Stenz trained at the School of Music in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He served as Gurzenich-Kapellmeister and general music director of the City of Cologne, and principal guest conductor of the Halle. His previous positions have included artistic director and chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony, music director of the Montepulciano Festival and principal conductor of the London Sinfonietta. He has an extensive discography and his Schoenberg recordings with the Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne earned the 2016 Gramophone Classics Music Award for Best Choral Album. Recent engagements have taken Stenz all over the world, from São Paulo to Shanghai. Image below: Maestro Markus Stenz
COL Christopher P. Costa - Executive Director The International Spy Museum
COL Christopher P. Costa (US Army, ret.), who is the new Executive Director of The International Spy Museum, was most recently the Special Assistant for the President & Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the White House National Security Council. Previously, Director Costa's career included 25 years of active duty in hot spots such as Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.He’s the recipient of two Bronze Stars for intelligence work in Afghanistan and has been inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor for the US Special Operations Command. Director Costa's career has included human intelligence, special operations, counterintelligence, and unconventional warfare.
Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford - Director The National Museum of African Art
Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford, Ph.D. is the Director of The National Museum of African Art (NMAA). The acclaimed curator and cultural historian is known for his impressive combination of knowledge, experience, communication skills and passion to the Museum. Born in London, he was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where he received his doctorate in African history. Casely-Hayford succeeds Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who served as director of the NMAA from March 2009 through March 2017.
Image below: Gus Casely-Hayford, Ph.D. - Photograph by Jaimie Gramston
Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford, Ph.D. - Photo by Jaimie Gramston
Steven Fox - Music Director Cathedral Choral Society
The Cathedral Choral Society (CCS) has announced the four-year appointment of Steven Fox as Music Director. He succeeds Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, who led the chorus from 1985 until 2016. As Music Director, Fox is charged with the continued development of the Society as one of the nation’s finest symphonic choruses. He is the Artistic Director of The Clarion Orchestra and The Clarion Choir, and Founder of Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg, which he established as Russia’s first period-instrument orchestra. A 2017 GRAMMY® nominee, he has appeared as a guest conductor with many renowned ensembles. Fox was named an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2010 “for significant contributions to his field in music.”
Principal Conductor Adam Turner has been named Virginia Opera’s new Artistic Director.Maestro Turner is one of America’s most acclaimed young conductors, having come to Virginia Opera in 2010 as Resident Conductor and Chorus Master. For the last four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, he has helmed the company’s performances of varied repertory. He is a graduate of Morehead State University (Bachelor of Music in piano performance) and the Catholic University of America (Master of Music in conducting). He has worked as an assistant conductor with Seattle Opera, Central City Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, among other companies. In announcing the new appointment, Virginia Opera President and CEO, Russell P. Allen, stated “Virginia Opera is excited about the work that Maestro Turner has done for the company. His artistic work is extraordinary and his involvement to date in shaping the artistic growth of the company has been significant. As Maestro Turner begins his 9th season with the company, the promotion to Artistic Director could not be more timely and important for the company.”
Image below: Maestro Adam Turner
Nicholas A. Cooper - Artistic Administrator Virginia Opera
Virginia Opera has appointed Nicholas A. Cooperas Artistic Administrator.He will work closely with the Opera’s Artistic Director Adam Turner in many facets of the administration of the musical and artistic operation of the company. Cooper has had extensive training in management, negotiation, contracting, and budgeting with other arts organizations around the country.He will oversee the company’s daily artistic operations and will screen artist materials to identify and recommend potential singers for future productions. Among his many other duties, he will also work to plan, schedule, and facilitate all auditions locally and in New York. President and CEO Russell Allen has commented that “Nick will serve a very important function at Virginia Opera and help our artistic team continue to bring to our audiences the quality of musical presentation for which our company is so well known.”