Chamber Music America Names Richard Kessler Chair of the Board

For Immediate Release
Contact: Gina Izzo
(212)-242-2022 ext. 5291



Dean of Mannes College The New School For Music Assumes Post July 1, 2014

NEW YORK, NY (June 30, 2014)—Chamber Music America (CMA), the national network for ensemble music professionals, today announced the appointment of Richard Kessler as the new chair of its board of directors, effective July 1, 2014. Before joining the Board in 2013, Mr. Kessler facilitated CMA’s “National Conversations,” a research project involving musicians and presenters across the country to better understand how their lives had changed since the Great Recession began in 2008. The project formed the basis for CMA’s subsequent Strategic Plan.

In 2011 Mr. Kessler was appointed the dean of New York City’s Mannes College The New School For Music. He has also recently been appointed to a concurrent position as executive dean for the performing arts at The New School, which includes The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and The New School for Drama. Prior to joining The New School, he served as chief executive at The Center for Arts Education (2004-2011) and The American Music Center (1997-2004), where he created NewMusicBox.org and established The American Music Center Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

As the founding trombonist of the Saturday Brass Quintet, Mr. Kessler was an early member of CMA. Over the years, his ensemble received grants for professional development, commissioning, and residency projects. The group went on to win a Naumburg Award in 1990.

Mr. Kessler holds two degrees from The Juilliard School and taught at The Manhattan School of Music from 1988-1993. Devoted to the importance of volunteer leadership, Mr. Kessler is also a board member of the American Composers Orchestra; Common Core, the DC-based organization advocating for liberal arts and science education; the Original Music workshop; and is a member of the steering committee for the Grantmakers in the Arts’ Arts Education Funders Coalition.

"Richard Kessler has the ideal combination of skills and experience to lead the Board at this time of organizational growth," said Chamber Music America CEO Margaret M. Lioi. "We are all looking forward to benefiting from his strategic thinking, his knowledge of the field, and his passion for chamber music."

Mr. Kessler succeeds Louise K. Smith of Chicago, IL, who has come to the end of her third three-year term on the Board, for which she served as chair from 2008-2014.

Other new members joining the board are: Armando Castellano, Founder and French Hornist of Quinteto Latino (CA); pianist and composer Darrell Grant (WA); and Steven Wogaman, president and CEO of the Chamber Music Society of Detroit (MI).

Chamber Music America, the national network of ensemble music professionals, was founded in 1977 to develop, support, and strengthen the chamber music community. With a membership of more than 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions. CMA provides its members with grant programs, consulting services, access to instrument and other insurances, conferences, seminars and several publications, including Chamber Music magazine, and a website, www.chamber-music.org.