By Emma Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Editor
After a two-month search, Moraine Valley’s Fine and Performing Arts Center has named a new managing director, former head of the Jacksonville Symphony Robert Massey. Massey is set to start officially on May 9.
Tommy Hensel, previous managing director for the FPAC, left the position Jan. 31 to further his career at Elgin Community College. Hensel was the managing director at Moraine for 14 years.
Massey is a performing arts executive and classical music producer who has served as chief executive officer of not only the Jacksonville Symphony, but also Opera Festival of Chicago, Louisville Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, and Washington Bach Consort. He is the founder and president of InnovativArts and was CEO of Arts Iowa.
He has led three multimillion-dollar campaigns that raised more than $200 million for artistic initiatives, capital projects and endowment funds, according to his LinkedIn bio.
“Robert Massey comes to us with over 20 years of experience in arts management,” said dean of Liberal Arts Wally Fronczek. “He has received numerous awards in the industry and serves on many non-profit arts organizations.”
The search process started immediately after Hensel left, with a search team going through resumes throughout the past two months.
“The process went well,” Fronczek said. “We had a dedicated search team who met several times to discuss candidates and conduct interviews.”
After the greatness Hensel had brought to the FPAC, the team knew they had to find someone with just as much dedication and passion for the arts, and Massey fit the bill.
“There were several staff members from many areas of the college on the team selected to serve,” Fronczek said. “All these individuals interact with this position daily.”
Massey holds a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and a master’s from the Paris Conservatory, and has completed Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
He holds a great passion for sharing the best practices in arts management, so he often is a speaker and panelist. He has presented to Americans for the Arts, Tessitura Learning and Community Conference, and the International Federation of Musicians, according to his LinkedIn bio.
He has been involved in music from a young age.
“Music provided me a foundation,” Massey said in a video produced when he was introduced as the new president and CEO for the Jacksonville Symphony. “I knew that no matter where I went that I would have this core, I had confidence, and I had a entry point to a social network.”
In the video, he goes to say how important a symphony is but that the people in it, and the community, is what makes it all work.
At Moraine Valley, Massey plans to maintain what the FPAC already has and add new shows and attractions as the year moves on, Fronczek said.