The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra lost three vice-presidents this week. One, John Sparrow (Orchestral Initiatives & General Manager), walked out. The other two, Don Fox (finance) and Charlie Wade (marketing) were apparently fired.
By getting rid of them, the contentious Doctor Romanstein has reduced the payroll sufficiently so that he and other executives won’t have to share a pay cut. Here is his decidedly creepy letter to staff, musicians and chorus singers.
Letter to ASO and ASOC from Stanley Romanstein:
Dear People (to borrow respectfully from Mr. Shaw*),
We have committed ourselves to operating in the black this year and in the years to come – something the ASO has done only once since 2001. Operating in the black is vital to our art and essential to our continued existence. Simply saying, “Okay, this year we will,” won’t get the job done. If we expect a different financial outcome from that we’ve seen over the past decade, we must do different things and do things differently.
Some time ago John Sparrow, our Vice President for Orchestral Initiatives & General Manager for the past twelve years, talked with me about his desire to leave the ASO and pursue other passions. John and I began a long and productive dialogue about the ASO’s future and about the imperative to “do different things and do things differently.” He willingly delayed the news of his departure, and for that I am grateful.
To move us forward, I have asked a number of people from within the ASO staff to accept new or expanded responsibility for leadership:
Artistic Planning – Evans Mirageas
Contemporary Presentations/ASO Presents – Trevor Ralph
Development – Sandy Smith
Education & Community Engagement – Mark Kent
Finance – Susan Ambo
Marketing – David Paule
Operations/General Manager – Julie Fish
This team will assume new responsibilities on Monday, November 12. I have met with this team at length and have been impressed by their openness to new ideas and new possibilities. They are working collaboratively and are committed to our success. I’m grateful to each of them for their willingness to lead. I’m grateful, as well, to Don Fox and Charlie Wade, who will be leaving the ASO. Don and Charlie have served this organization and this community incredibly well, and we will miss them.
November will be a month of transition, and transitions can be difficult. We will do our best to handle every challenge with grace, knowing that the ASO’s best days lie ahead. Thank you for your support as we move forward.
Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph.D.
* The Mr Shaw was Robert Shaw, a name not to be taken readily in vain. See this chorister’s blogpost.