The Minnesota Orchestra announced today that Erik Finley has been appointed the Leni and David Moore, Jr. Vice President of Artistic Planning. In this role, he will collaborate closely with Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård, musicians and artistic staff to bring to life a shared artistic vision for the organization. A native of Houston, Texas, Finley currently serves as vice president and general manager of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He will begin his role with the Minnesota Orchestra on January 30, 2023.
“I am very happy that Erik will be leading our artistic team to develop strategic programming, commissioning and artistic initiatives as I begin my role in Minnesota,” said Thomas Søndergård, who will conduct his first concerts as music director in September 2023. “I like his approach very much—he is creative, collaborative and a good listener. We are on the cusp of many beginnings, and I look forward to partnering with Erik, our musicians and other artistic staff to bring it all together.”
As vice president of artistic planning, Finley will be responsible for the multi-season design and execution of the Orchestra’s overall artistic programming, including cultivating artistic relationships, collaborating on repertoire selection, overseeing digital programming, and developing plans for commissioning, recording and special initiatives in alignment with the organization’s strategic directions. In addition to collaborating with Søndergård, he’ll work closely with the musicians’ Artistic Advisory Committee, artistic staff colleagues, Board leadership and President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns.
“Erik has a deep musical background and extensive knowledge of our field,” said Michelle Miller Burns. “His collaborative approach to cultivating relationships, his extensive experience programming a broad range of repertoire and his expansive vision for the role an orchestra can plan in its community are a great fit for our Orchestra. He will be a key voice on our staff leadership team, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Minnesota Orchestra.”
Finley has served as vice president and general manager of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 2017, a period in which he worked with David Robertson in his final season as music director and collaborated with Stéphane Denève to launch the conductor as the organization’s new artistic leader. Finley has worked closely with Denève in guiding the orchestra’s artistic direction and programming, establishing new relationships and a residency series with artists, expanding the commissioning of new music, media projects and touring, and creating innovative concert formats and collaborations aimed to develop new audiences, among other initiatives. He previously led artistic planning at the Fort Worth Symphony and Florida Orchestra, and began his career working with conductor Marin Alsop in the artistic department of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. A committed advocate of composers and music of our time, he held a seven-year affiliation with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Prior to establishing his career in arts administration, Finley studied horn at Rice University, the Royal College of Music in London, the Music Academy of the West and the National Repertory Orchestra. He is a graduate of Boston University and the Interlochen Arts Academy, and an MBA candidate at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
“The Minnesota Orchestra’s artistry, commitment to its community, and collaborative culture is highly regarded in our field and admired by artists and audiences internationally,” said Erik Finley. “I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with Thomas Søndergård, the world-class musicians of the Orchestra, Michelle Miller Burns and such dedicated administrative colleagues, to continue to nurture and elevate the artistic profile of the Orchestra at this exciting moment in the organization’s history.”
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