President & CEO
Robert Massey has built a reputation as one of classical music’s most dynamic, visionary, and entrepreneurial leaders. As the head of the Jacksonville Symphony (2014 – present), Orchestra Iowa (2008 – 2014), and the Washington Bach Consort (2004 – 2008), he led remarkable transformations at each, developing and implementing innovative strategies that enhanced and diversified program offerings, increased accessibility, extended reach, deepened impact, and ensured financial sustainability.
In addition to his work with symphony orchestras, Massey has served multiple arts disciplines including opera (Washington National Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre), ballet (Ballet Quad Cities, Ballet Memphis), performing arts centers (Kennedy Center, Paramount Theatre, Germantown Performing Arts Centre), museums (The Phillips Collection), and “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tessitura Network.
Massey began his journey in the arts by discovering trumpet at an early age. Music education and participation in the Memphis Youth Symphony inspired him to pursue it as a career. While still a teenager, he began playing with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and was later a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He holds a bachelor of music degree from Boston’s New England Conservatory and was a Beebe Fellow at the famed Paris Conservatory.
Throughout his career he has raised more than $200 million for artistic initiatives, built and restored three performing arts venues, successfully negotiated several labor agreements, and has notably enhanced the cultural landscape through new creations, collaborative partnerships, and innovative business models. He famously led the campaign that saved Orchestra Iowa and Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre following catastrophic flooding in 2008.
Since assuming his position with the Jacksonville Symphony in December 2014, Massey has created programs, both on-stage and off, that have attracted new audiences and opened avenues of engagement with symphonic music. Under his leadership, the Jacksonville Symphony has expanded its season from 35 to 40 weeks, doubled its annual attendance, and is in the closing phase of the $50 million Vision 2020 Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the organization’s history.
As a tireless advocate for the arts, Massey is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist across the globe. He is passionate about sharing best practices in advancing classical music, as well as managing and motivating the many constituencies that comprise the cultural ecosystem of an arts organization.