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Savannah Music Festival Announces Hire of New Executive Director Ahead of 30th Festival Season


The Savannah Music Festival Executive Committee and Board of Directors announces the hire of David Pratt as Executive Director following the recent resignation of Rob Gibson from the Executive & Artistic Director position.

Pratt leaves his current post as Chief Executive of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in September, and will begin full-time at SMF in late October. The former Executive Director of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus (SPO) from 2010 to 2015 is excited to return to Savannah to work for SMF, noting: “I’ve always had a great appreciation for SMF’s work in arts presenting and education, and look forward to being part of the leadership team that ushers in the 30th festival season.”

Concurrently, the Executive Committee builds upon the organization’s strengths by promoting two staff members. Long-time Marketing & Managing Director and current Interim Executive & Artistic Director Ryan McMaken has been named Artistic Director to serve the artistic aspect of Gibson’s previous position, and both he and Pratt will report directly to the Board. Additionally, current Director of Artist Relations Erin Tatum moves to Managing Director, a role with widespread responsibilities for festival operations. McMaken and Tatum draw from three decades of cumulative experience in the arts and have led SMF’s marketing, production and artist relations operations as the organization has grown.

SMF Board Chairman Dave Neises and the Executive Committee began forming a search committee last month, and subsequently learned of David Pratt’s desire to return to Georgia. Of the hire, Neises remarks: “David Pratt is a seasoned arts administrator who is also well-loved in Savannah. His nonprofit business acumen and leadership skills, along with his extensive experience within the musical arts, make him an ideal fit for the Executive Director role at SMF.” In addition to his experience at QSO and SPO, David Pratt has served as Executive Director for the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, Commercial Enterprises General Manager for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and General Manager of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, among other professional experiences in festival production and film. Pratt’s responsibilities at SMF will include strategic and financial leadership of the $3.6 million organization.

The 30th festival season begins on March 28 and runs through April 13, 2019, with a lineup announcement on November 9, 2018.


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