October 1, 2019 (Ann Arbor, MI) – The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Tyler Rand as its new executive director, effective January 1, 2020. Rand will succeed Mary Steffek Blaske, who will retire from the organization in December after 25 years in the role. Rand’s tenure will begin in January in time for the Symphony’s annual Mozart Birthday Bash on January 18 at the Michigan Theater.
“After a months-long search with extensive input from staff, board members, musicians, and community members, the board has overwhelmingly endorsed Tyler’s appointment to this position,” said Geoff Barnes, President of the A²SO Board of Directors. “Tyler has revitalized our marketing efforts and has brought a sophisticated level of musical knowledge to everything the A²SO does. He is committed to the A²SO’s continued musical excellence and extensive educational outreach in the community.”
Steffek Blaske added, “Tyler has an exciting vision for the future of our A²SO. He has been a hard-working and superb member of the A²SO team and will be a superb leader of this dynamo organization.”
Rand is experienced in all facets of arts and nonprofit administration. He steps into the Executive Director role having served previously as Director of Marketing & Communications with the organization. Prior to his time with the A²SO, Rand oversaw programming, fundraising, marketing, and community engagement at Classical 90.5 WSMC-FM in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the region’s largest classical radio station. A trained musician and professional oboist, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music theory and literature from Southern Adventist University.
“I am honored to continue my work with the A²SO in this new role and serve alongside our musicians, board and staff to further the unprecedented artistic growth we’ve experienced under the leadership of Mary Steffek Blaske and our former Music Director, Arie Lipsky,” said Rand. “With the most talented musicians in the Midwest, the most vibrant and far-reaching education and community engagement programs in our region, and our deep commitment to presenting and cultivating the next generation of diverse music makers, we can expect great things from this orchestra.”
Among his responsibilities, Rand will assist in overseeing the ongoing search for the A²SO’s next Music Director. “This is a very exciting time to be stepping into the role,” added Rand. “I look forward to working closely with our next music director to redefine how orchestras of our size make and share music.”
As an oboist, Rand has performed regularly with a variety of ensembles including the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, the Chattanooga Bach Choir, the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, Opera Tennessee, and the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra. He studied conducting with Kayoko Dan, music director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, and he led the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra as interim conductor during their music director search.
Rand also serves on the board of directors of Arts Capacity, a Chicago-based nonprofit that brings interactive, dialogue-promoting recitals and new music to the prison environment.
About the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra:
Currently in its 91st season, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra provides 6 mainstage, 3 pops, 5 chamber, and 3 educational concerts between September and May each year. Also, additional educational and community engagement programming in the summer adds to its offerings. A robust array of educational programs are a central component of the A²SO’s mission and impact over 30,000 young music lovers each year.
One of the Midwest’s leading symphony orchestras, the A²SO is critically acclaimed for its innovative programming and deep commitment to artistic excellence. Its musicians are the finest professional performers in the region. They regularly perform in the state’s key orchestras and hold prestigious professorships at leading academic institutions in Southeast Michigan.
The A²SO actively commissions and programs many works by living composers, and regularly engages artists of international acclaim. These include pianists Emanuel Ax, Orion Weiss, and Garrick Ohlsson, cellists Zlatomir Fung and Julie Albers, and violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Itamar Zorman. Other notable collaborations include composers William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and Evan Chambers.
Radio broadcasts on Detroit’s WRCJ and Lansing’s WKAR take A²SO concerts throughout Southern Michigan, along with national broadcasts carried on Performance Today and Pipedreams from American Public Media. In 2009, the A²SO produced a major recording of Paul Fetler’s works on the Naxos label praised as “…vital, alive and utterly polished.”
The A²SO is Washtenaw County’s largest arts employer with 71 professional musicians, IATSE stagehands and technicians, and an administrative staff of 8. The A²SO is supported by an active and committed 34-member Board of Directors.