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David Fisk, President & CEO

 
David Fisk is joining the Charlotte Symphony as its new President & CEO in August 2020. For the last eighteen years, he was Executive Director of the Richmond Symphony, Virginia. Born in Great Britain and now a US citizen, David previously served as Chief Executive of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, the national symphony of Northern Ireland.  Prior to that, he was General Manager of the Orchestra of St. John's, Smith Square in London, one of the United Kingdom's principal chamber orchestras.  He has also held the position of Development Director for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park - the UK's leading open-air art gallery complex - and was creator and Executive Director of the award-winning Manchester International Festival of Expressionism 1992. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2001.
Photo credit: Keitaro Harada
Recent Board service has included Virginians for the Arts, for which he chaired the statewide legislative committee; Virginia Public Media; and the Group 3 symphonies in the League of American Orchestras.

Strong financial management and access to music for all were consistent theme of David's 18 years in Richmond. Under his leadership, the operating budget doubled; the Symphony's endowment grew from $8M to $18M; and a cash reserve was created. The Richmond Symphony expanded its youth orchestras program to five; created its annual 'Come & Play' event, that brings 700 community members together playing with the RSO musicians; launched its Lollipops family concerts, and Rush Hour at Hardywood Brewery concerts; and presented many popular new programs, such as Star Wars in Concert and Video Games Live, that have introduced tens of thousands of new audiences to the Symphony. In 2015, David was the mastermind behind the purchase and launch of the Richmond Symphony's 'Big Tent', a $250,000 mobile stage that transformed the Symphony's relationship with the City of Richmond and the neighboring Counties. The Big Tent has become a cultural icon for the region, bringing families together for community festivals in public parks, including a record crowd of 22,000 for one 4th July celebration. Most noteworthy, though, has been the Big Tent's ability to generate proceeds from its events, of over $400,000 to date, to buy musical instruments for all the City's elementary and middle schools, so that every public school student has access to learning an instrument.

David began his musical life aged 8 as a boy chorister for five years at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where he also studied piano, cello and organ. He continued those studies through high school, before pursuing a bachelor's degree in music from Manchester University, specializing in piano. He holds a postgraduate performer's diploma in piano accompaniment from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he also studied harpsichord, composition and conducting.  David worked for a number of years as a freelance composer/arranger, conductor, repetiteur and orchestral keyboard-player, before moving into arts management. Until very recently, David has continued to give public concerts frequently as an instrumental and vocal accompanist, and as a substitute church organist.

David Fisk is married to the Irish soprano Anne O'Byrne. They have a daughter, Fionnuala or "Finn", (22), and son Oliver, (19). Other than music, David's hobbies include swimming and scuba diving - often off the coast of North Carolina - horse riding, and motorcycling. He is also learning Spanish, but slowly.