The Rogue Valley Symphony just finished their 50th Anniversary season and is looking forward to the future.  The RVS Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Joelle Graves as Executive Director and also the renewal of Music Director Martin Majkut’s contract for another three years.  There are many other reasons for the Rogue Valley Symphony to continue celebrating: the final concert of the season was a triple sell-out, the RVS is more than hallway to their goal of increasing their endowment to $5 million, fundraising and ticket sales reached all-time highs this season, and the RVS brought 5 new works into the world of orchestral music through their commissioned works project during the 2017-2018 season. 

Maestro Majkut and Ms. Graves are traveling to Chicago in June to attend the League of American Orchestra's national conference.  Majkut has been invited to be a guest presenter at one of the sessions, presenting on the topic of Courageous Programming, speaking about the five commissioned works that the RVS presented this year.  As if that weren’t enough, Graves will also be taking a trip to Los Angeles where she will be meeting with Ovation Television about a new initiative the RVS has been selected to participate in during 2018.  “Twelve arts groups from all across the country will be brought into the homes of millions of Americans. The project, called Arts Across the Heartland, showcases artistic and cultural programming from rural cities throughout the nation, highlighting that artistic expression and beauty is a unique, diverse, and unifying force.  I would say that blends perfectly with our 51st season!" remarked Graves.

Ms. Graves has served as Interim Executive Director of the RVS since July 2017 during a time of transition.  Board President Paul B. Smith noted, “The Board of Directors of the Rogue Valley Symphony is delighted to make this appointment in recognition of Joelle’s dedication and enthusiasm for the work of the Symphony.  She has made a significant contribution to the success of our 50th Anniversary Season and has demonstrated strong managerial and communications skills as Interim Director this past year. We look forward to her leadership of the organization as we embark on an exciting future together!”  Maestro Majkut said, “Joelle is passionate about exploring the potential of what a symphonic orchestra can be in the 21st century. She is the rare kind of dreamer, who is able to make her ambitious goals come true. Joelle’s secret weapon is her knowledge that no matter the goal, ultimately it is about people, the relationships, and the community. She is a great addition to our Rogue Valley Symphony family.”  

The Rogue Valley Symphony continues to have a strong relationship with Southern Oregon University, where rehearsals are held and the first performance of each series.   David Humphrey, Director of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, said of Ms. Graves and the RVS, “The Rogue Valley Symphony is an important cultural resource for southern Oregon and it requires strong, inspired leadership.  I am delighted that Joelle Graves will serve as its permanent Executive Director in that she brings that kind of leadership required for the continued success of this amazing orchestra.”  Graves served as Education Director for Britt Festivals from 2004 - 2011.  President and CEO of the Britt Music and Arts Festival Donna Briggs said, “I could not be more pleased to learn that Joelle Graves has been named the permanent Executive Director of the Rogue Valley Symphony.  I have had the pleasure of working with Joelle and advocating with her for the performing arts, since 2008.  Britt’s administrative and artistic leadership look forward to collaborating with the Rogue Valley Symphony in the years to come.”  Graves also worked much of her career in Josephine County as General Manager of Rogue Music Theatre and Director of Arts Education for the Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility, leading to many strong relationships in Grants Pass that have been built over time.  The Superintendent of the Grants Pass School District, Kirk Kolb, said, “Joelle will be an outstanding Executive Director and great representative of the RV Symphony.  She is a strong advocate who builds great relationships with the community and Symphony partners.”

Martin Majkut has served as the Rogue Valley Symphony Music Director since 2010.   He is now also the Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra in New York.  Regarding his contract extension, Makjut remarked, “I am very happy about the extension of my contract. It means that I am going to continue working with musicians and staff that I adore, settled in the community that I love. The Board has been nothing but supportive of my vision. I still have many dreams that I want to see through with the Symphony. The incredible journey that I was asked to participate in eight years ago continues!”  RVS Board President Smith said, “We are thrilled that Martin has agreed to continue as Music Director for at least another three years.  Over the past eight years of his tenure with the Rogue Valley Symphony, he has transformed the orchestra into one of the strongest regional orchestras in the United States and has expanded the musical quality and variety of repertoire to the delight of our audiences.  We look forward to his continuing to develop our orchestra to achieve even greater success, reaching new listeners, and expanding our educational mission throughout the Rogue Valley.”  

Graves and Majkut are already booking the 2020 and 2021 seasons and have some surprises in store.  “We are riding the wave of the 50th; our patrons mean the world to us - we are excited for the future.”

Please contact Kristin Kessler (541) 708-6400 at the Rogue Valley Symphony to arrange for interviews with our Executive Director Joelle Graves or Music Director Martin Majkut.
 Attached are photos for Martin Majkut, Joelle Graves and the RVS.  Photo Credit for the RVS photo (final bow of the 2017-2018 season after Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9) goes to Christopher Briscoe.

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