Omaha Symphony appoints new CEO

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May 20th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – After an extensive search, the Omaha Symphony has announced the appointment of a new CEO.

Earlier this month, the Omaha Symphony announced that it had hired James Johnson to be its new President and CEO. Johnson, a former double bass player, has a background in both music performance and business administration. He ended up combining these passions by working behind the scenes in several arts organizations.

He also worked for the Martha Graham Dance Company, eventually becoming General Manager. “I think the most important aspect of that part of my career was that I got to work with Martha Graham for about three and a half years at the end of her life,” said Johnson, “and that influence to me to devote my career to the arts.”

James Johnson has been named CEO and President of the Omaha Symphony. (Photo credit to Omaha Symphony)

He then took a position as Director of Operations for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and for the past ten years has been the CEO for the New York Pops. Johnson said that the Omaha Symphony is already doing many things well, and he wants the organization to capitalize on it’s current success.

He said the Omaha Symphony is “incredibly eclectic,” which he said was “interesting and attractive” to him. Johnson also said education has been and is his goal.

“It’s something that I tried to foster at the New York Pops, because when I began there we had a good education program; when I left we were in all five bureaus in New York City doing programs practically on a daily basis…I’d like to do more of that.”

Johnson also said collaborations will be necessary for success. “We need to look at our partners in the arts and culture. That’s really one of things that attracted me to Omaha in general was its incredible cultural diversity, the great cultural institutions here and educational institutions. And I’d love to see if we can collaborate with some of those institutions.”

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