March 29, 2021

Madison Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Richard Mackie Set to Retire on July 1, 2021 After 22 Years of Service

Madison, Wis. 
Richard Mackie, Executive Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, has announced his retirement, effective July 1. He has led the administration of the Symphony since early 1999, when he moved from Edgewood College. Previously Mackie had helmed the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He holds a master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“As the end of the COVID crisis comes into focus, the Symphony is in excellent shape financially and artistically to resume its mission of great music for everyone,” Mackie said. “This is a good time for me to wrap-up some major projects and leave the organization well prepared for its future leadership.”

The Symphony’s Board of Directors is organizing the process by which Mackie’s replacement will be found.  Board President Ellsworth Brown said, “Rick’s longevity as Executive Director is exceptional. His vision, commitment to and knowledge of the Greater Madison community, management skills and collaboration with Maestro John DeMain have brought the Madison Symphony Orchestra to the high level we now enjoy. In turn, this success and Madison’s strong cultural life make the position very attractive.”

“Rick is one of the giants in the world of symphony management,” Music Director John DeMain expressed. “That he chose to make his home here for so long has benefitted us all and is an example of the extraordinary talent that Madison attracts. Rick’s passion for music, coupled with an unfailing commitment to fiscal responsibility, resulted in our having an ideal relationship that allowed us together to grow the orchestra in significant and enduring ways. I personally wish him a wonderful retirement.”

Mackie led the transition from the Madison Civic Center into Overture Hall, increasing the number of subscription performances from 16 to 24. He was instrumental in planning and implementing the inclusion of the Overture Concert Organ in the new concert hall when it opened in 2004. With the growth of audiences came expansion of community services in greater Madison.

“I am tremendously proud of the Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement Programs,” he said. “Our services to youth and special-needs populations have been internationally recognized. Positioning the orchestra in this way puts the Symphony at the heart of our community.”

“It has been a high honor to serve the Symphony. I have experienced the peak moments of my career working with this remarkable organization. The Board, the volunteers, our able administrative team and wonderful musicians, and friend and colleague Music Director John DeMain have made this a deeply rewarding professional and personal journey. Their trust and support over the years have made my work and our success possible.”

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 96th season in 2021–2022. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world.

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 260-8680 x226
Mobile: (415) 713-0235
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org


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Photo: Katrin Talbot


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