“The search committee thoroughly reviewed a number of candidates selected from the initial pool of applicants,” said Search Committee Co-Chairs Rick Johnson and Jacki O’Donnell. “Due to his broad leadership experience, collaborative style, and success in co-founding a symphonic organization, Brian Baxter was the clear choice to lead us into the future.”
Upon Baxter accepting the position, Board President Tom Spitzfaden stated “The QCSO is excited about Brian joining our organization and the Quad City community. We are committed to continuing and enhancing our strong history of quality music and music education in the Quad Cities. Brian’s experience, skills and leadership will help us do just that.”
Baxter has worked with the CYSO since 2008. As Chief Operating Officer, he oversaw more than 600 students in the orchestra programs and managed the community engagement programs which reach thousands of students annually. During his tenure, he has led three successful international tours, grown the CYSO’s student body by 30%, and expanded the organization’s programmatic offerings by adding a seventh orchestra, a jazz orchestra, a composition seminar, and a neighborhood steel band program increasing the community’s access to the CYSO.
In addition to his work with the CYSO, Baxter is an accomplished musician, and composer. He co-founded the Chicago Composers Orchestra (CCO), and served as its co-Artistic Director and President of the Board of Directors. Since its inception, Baxter has overseen the CCO’s incorporation as a 501(c)(3) organization and produced eight consecutive concert seasons.
“I am honored to be joining the QCSO team as Executive Director,” Baxter said. “QCSO is an organization that is deeply rooted in the cultural life of the Quad City community, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Music Director Mark Russell Smith, the fantastic musicians of the orchestra, and the talented students of QCSO's robust youth programs.”
Baxter will begin his role as Executive Director with the QCSO on February 26th. Michael Harring will remain as Interim Executive Director until that time and provide assistance throughout the transition period. “The Symphony is blessed with a talented and dedicated staff,” Harring said. “The transition will be seamless.”