Chairman of the Board of Trustees H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest to Step Down in May 2014
Capping a period of tremendous growth and success, Gerry Lenfest steps down as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music, with the school in a position of unparalleled strength
(September 26, 2013) As the Curtis Institute of Music concludes a highly successful five-year strategic plan, Board Chairman H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest has announced that he will step down as chairman in May 2014, at the end of Curtis's current fiscal year. The conclusion of his tenure caps a period of tremendous success highlighted by a campus doubled in size, eleven new endowed faculty chairs, the launch of an international touring initiative, a healthy governance structure, and sound financial footing. [Curtis impact fact sheet]
"Curtis is in a strong position as it charts a course for its future, with a healthy endowment, a balanced budget, and some of the finest students, faculty, and facilities in the world," said Gerry Lenfest. "The school is not only prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century, but poised to set even higher goals and achieve even greater things as it approaches its centennial."
Named chairman in 2006, Mr. Lenfest has been an inspirational leader, playing a pivotal role in numerous initiatives including the opening of Lenfest Hall in 2011, a $65 million transformational building project; the completion of the faculty chair challenge which added $34 million to the endowment; and, through the direction of Curtis President Roberto Díaz, the launch of Curtis On Tour, which brought performances by Curtis students, faculty, and alumni to Europe, Asia, and North and South America, engaging new audiences and supporters in turn.
In addition, Mr. Lenfest's visionary philanthropy has encouraged substantial support from myriad other new and longtime Curtis supporters during his tenure. His unflagging support for the Annual Fund inspired the creation of the Chairman's Performance Circle for annual donors of $50,000 or more.
Curtis has begun an inclusive search process for the next board chairman led by governance committee chairman Sheldon Bonovitz, involving trustees as well as members of the faculty, board of overseers, and Bok Foundation Board.
"We will promptly begin the process to meet the challenge of filling the enormous footprint Gerry leaves behind," said Sheldon Bonovitz. "However, with Curtis in the strongest position in its history, thanks to Gerry, we are confident in our collaborative effort to find his successor. Each of our trustees, Bok Board members, leading overseers, and senior staff will be individually contacted to determine their views on the next board chairman. Through this strong collaboration, I am confident we will ensure success."
As the Curtis Institute of Music's strategic planning process unfolds over the 2013-14 school year, Mr. Lenfest will remain deeply involved. When he steps down as chairman at the conclusion of the fiscal year on May 31, 2014, he will continue to serve on the board of trustees and the Bok Foundation. His wife, Marguerite Lenfest, will remain on the board of overseers, on which she has served since 2002. Both Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest will be honored at the Grand Season Finale Gala at the Kimmel Center on April 13, 2014.
"Gerry's inspired leadership over the past seven years in combination with our active, visionary board has absolutely transformed Curtis," said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. "We've strengthened the school in all of the key areas identified in our 2008 strategic plan; and leading by example, Gerry has helped build support in our community at all levels and across all constituencies, resulting in an unprecedented level of Annual Fund giving. Now, as we approach the school's 100th anniversary from a place of strength, there is an opportunity to think about the next 100 years and how we can ensure the school remains true to its mission while embracing the opportunities and challenges presented to musicians in the 21st century and beyond."
Other initiatives launched under the guidance of Mr. Lenfest include a fitness and conditioning program designed specifically for musicians through Zarett Rehab and Fitness, collaborations with the Barnes Foundation and other Philadelphia partners, and numerous upgrades to the school's facilities, including the most recent acquisition of the Rubenstein Centre at 1620 Locust Street.
The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians from all over the world for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis provides its 171 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Samuel Barber to current stars Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Lang Lang, and Yuja Wang. Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.
Curtis's innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills. The school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit www.curtis.edu.
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Managing Director of External Affairs and Patron Engagement