December 7, 2015, Plano, TX – The Plano Symphony Orchestra has named Robert Reed as the new Executive Director effective March 1, 2016. The announcement comes following a four-month national executive search by a Board-appointed search committee tasked with recommending a successor to follow current Executive Director Debbie Watson, who will retire later this season. “I am honored to be the Board’s choice for the position,” said Reed, “and look forward to working with the Plano Symphony’s dedicated Board of Directors, Maestro Hector Guzman and the talented staff and musicians. I also eagerly look forward to meeting the passionate patrons and supporters and becoming a part of the Plano Symphony family.”
With more than 20 years in the industry, Robert currently serves as the Executive Director of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. He was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and was first exposed to the world of symphonic music at a kids concert by the Louisville Orchestra. He holds bachelor and master degrees in music from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He was selected early in his career as an Orchestra Management Fellow by the League of American Orchestras. His professional career covers more than 20 years with several orchestras nationwide including the Tulsa Philharmonic Symphony, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Tucson Symphony and for the last five years the Corpus Christi Symphony.
Plano Symphony Board President Dr. Raj Menon said, “We are pleased to have attracted an executive of Robert’s caliber with a proven track record of success. His industry knowledge and experience along with a passion for musical performing arts and education will be great assets for the Plano Symphony and the cultural arts in North Texas.”
Robert is looking forward to making Plano and the surrounding North Texas community his new home. He enjoys reading a good book, catching a movie, arts events and traveling (Australia is his favorite). On a personal note, he calls himself a “foodie” because of his love for all cuisine and endeavors to advance his own culinary skills.
Current Executive Director Debbie Watson announced her retirement earlier this year. Ms. Watson has been with the Symphony since its founding in 1983. Initially a concertgoer beginning with the Plano Symphony’s first concert 33 years ago, Watson’s involvement changed to volunteer, donor and eventually Executive Director. Watson joined the Plano Symphony Orchestra (PSO) staff in 1990 as one of two part-time staff persons with then Executive Director Sharon Blackwood. As the organization grew, the staff also expanded, and Watson continued through the 19-year tenure of the subsequent Executive Director, Alice Hobbs. Upon Hobbs’ retirement in 2010, Watson stepped into the Executive Director position, serving as the administrative leader beside the artistic leader, Maestro Hector Guzman, who has served the PSO for its 33-year history. “The Symphony is in its 33rd season and is in a good place for a leadership transition,” Watson said. “Our financial position is strong, we have a committed and talented staff, and dedicated leadership and support from the Board of Directors and volunteer Guild. The artistic quality of our orchestra, thanks to Maestro Hector Guzman, is at a very high level. I remain excited about the bright future for the Plano Symphony and its role in the cultural fabric of North Texas.” Board President Menon confirmed that Watson has agreed to lend her expertise for a successful transition. According to Dr. Menon, “The Plano Symphony is in a unique and enviable position to be able to execute a smooth leadership transition between two exceptional leaders in the industry.”