Fisk leaving Richmond for Charlotte

David J.L. Fisk, executive director of the Richmond Symphony since 2002, has been named president and chief executive officer of North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony. He will leave the Richmond Symphony on Aug. 31.

Michelle Walter, who preceded Fisk as the symphony’s chief administrative officer, will serve as interim executive director until a permanent replacement is hired. Aspen Leadership Group has been retained to conduct the search.

Fisk will ease the Richmond transition by serving through May 2021 as senior advisor to the Menuhin Competition for young violinists, scheduled to be held in Richmond that month with the symphony as a lead sponsor.

A native of the United Kingdom, Fisk was CEO of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland before coming to Richmond. During his years here, he led the orchestra through the tenures of two music directors, Mark Russell Smith and Steven Smith (no relation), and the selection of a third, Valentina Peleggi; five years of concerts in temporary venues while the Carpenter Theatre was undergoing renovation in the development of what is now Dominion Energy Center; the financial challenges of the 2008-10 recession and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; and the development of several major community-outreach ventures, notably acquisition of the Big Tent portable outdoor concert stage.

Under Fisk’s leadership, the orchestra’s operating budget more than doubled, from $4 million in 2002 to $8.5 million in the current fiscal year, and the symphony’s endowment grew from $8 million to $18 million.

Fisk, a pianist, and his wife, soprano Anne O’Byrne, have frequently performed in chamber concerts with symphony musicians and other ensembles in the area.

“While I am excited by the opportunity now to lead the Charlotte Symphony, I will be forever grateful for the warmth and generosity we have found in RVA, and for the countless friendships formed, through the symphony’s work across the region, and as our children have grown up here. Our family will always think of Richmond as home!” Fisk said in a statement issued on the announcement of his departure.

“David has made a huge difference for the symphony, for our community, for the arts in Richmond and for arts organizations all across the Commonwealth,” said George L. Mahoney, president of the symphony board.

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