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Executive ends illustrious 14-year career with DPO in which Orchestra experienced unprecedented artistic, business growth

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra today announced that Executive Director Curtis Long has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Long became Executive Director of the DPO in August of 1994, after a seven month search. He was then 30 years old and had recently been Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony. A graduate of the American Symphony Orchestra League fellowship program, Long arrived just seven weeks before the opening of the 1994-95 season. During Long’s tenure as Executive Director, the DPO hired Neal Gittleman, its fourth and current Music Director, moved from its old performance venue at Memorial Hall into the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, and saw the number of concerts it performed annually and the number of people attending concerts grow dramatically.

“I feel a great sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished at the DPO over my almost 14 years as Executive Director,” Long remarks. “The artistic, programmatic, and financial growth of the organization has been dramatic (and the new digs aren’t bad, either). The highlights have been too many to enumerate, but the best thing has been having the privilege to work with so many great people, both at the Orchestra and throughout the Dayton community.”

“It’s been a great joy to work with Curt these past 13 years,” Neal Gittleman, DPO Music Director, states. “It’s almost unheard of to find an orchestra executive with 14 years of service like Curt Long, especially among mid-sized orchestras like ours. And it’s completely unheard of to find a Music Director and an Executive Director who have worked together as long and as well as Curt and I have. The DPO has been extraordinarily lucky to have had Curt’s firm hand on the tiller, during this time of tremendous artistic and business growth for the orchestra. None of the great things that we’ve accomplished at the Philharmonic in recent memory would have been possible without Curt’s unique blend of a strong grasp of finance, a sincere love and understanding of music, and a deep respect for musicians. That combination is all too rare in the world of orchestra management, and Curt sets a very high standard for our next Executive Director to meet.”

“As chair of the DPO Musicians’ Players’ Committee,” DPO Principal Clarinetist John Kurokawa remarks, “I have enjoyed working with Curt Long. We’ve had our disagreements along the way, but they’ve always been for the right reasons, and I wish him the best of luck at his new position in Alabama.”

“We chose Curt for several reasons,” Alabama Symphony Orchestra Board President Charlie Perry states. “He is extremely well qualified, with a history of success in all of the factors that count – quality of music, attendance, rapport with musicians, the community and the board, and a sound business mind aligned with symphonic needs.”

DPO Board President Dave Reed has initiated a search for a replacement for Curt Long, with the hope of having a new Executive Director in place prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 DPO Concert Season, which begins this September. “Finding someone with Curt’s dedication, talent, skill, and vision will not be an easy task,” Reed remarks. “We will most certainly miss him.”

A search committee, headed by Honorary DPO Board Trustee Bill Schneider, is being formed and will have its initial meeting next week. It is likely to include trustees, orchestra musicians, and music director. In Long’s absence, Wendy B. Campbell – DPO Board Member and Chair of the DPO Community Advisory Committee – will serve as Interim Executive Director.