Aspen Institute Taps Ronald Schiller as New Head of Arts Program

Mar 03, 2011, 10:00 ET from The Aspen Institute

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Aspen Institute has appointed Ronald J. Schiller as the new director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program and Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program. Currently president of the NPR Foundation, Schiller starts his new position on April 1, 2011, serving as the program's second director, following Dana Gioia's departure to serve on the faculty at the University of Southern California. He will be based out of the Institute's Aspen, CO offices.

Schiller has been a part-time and then full-time resident of Aspen, CO since 2006 where he has become a valued member of the Aspen community in general, and the Aspen Institute family in particular.

"Ron Schiller embraces and lives the values that we share as a community," said Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, "I am very pleased that he has agreed to join us to help us build a strong and vibrant arts program, the kind of program that we believe is central to the Institute's origins and to its mission."

In accepting this position, Schiller said, "I am thrilled to join the Aspen Institute community. The Institute—with its history, its leadership, and its association with a community known around the world for its commitment to and leadership in the arts—is extremely well-positioned to make a major contribution to the arts both in America and abroad, exploring both in the arts and through the arts some of the most important and fascinating challenges and opportunities facing our society."

Sidney Harman, Institute trustee, chairman of the Committee on the Arts and co-benefactor of the Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program said: "With the appointment of Ron Schiller, we are positioned to further integrate the arts––all the arts––into everything we do. The arts should be, and will be, organic/intrinsic in all Aspen Institute activities. We expect that with Ron's engagement, the Institute will take leadership in proselytizing the arts throughout America and the world."

Harman's fellow trustee and benefactor Michael Eisner said, "In a wonderful essay, Maxwell Anderson states 'the arts make the longest reach toward permanence, create the most enduring monuments, project the farthest, widest, deepest influence of which human prescience and effort are capable.' We have so much to contribute to society through our arts program, and I am thrilled that Ron is joining us in this leadership role."

Aspen Institute Trustee Mercedes Bass, with whom Schiller works on the American Academy development committee, applauded his appointment, saying, "I am delighted that Ron is joining us, bringing his passion and experience as an artist, as a leading administrator, and as an accomplished fundraiser."

Elliot Gerson, Executive VP for Policy and Public Programs at the Institute, said, "Dana Gioia helped to restore the arts to the critical position it played in the founding of the Aspen Institute and we fully expect Ron to carry that momentum forward with creative energy and flair."

Gerson also stated that, "Ron's plans to expand the Institute's Arts Program will provide exciting synergies with the ongoing and independent work of the Institute's Global Initiative on Culture and Society led by Damien Pwono and that of the Aspen Writers' Foundation led by Lisa Consiglio."

Schiller has spent more than two decades working in the arts and in education.  As head of the National Public Radio Foundation, he helped establish much greater collaboration in fundraising between NPR and its member stations.  Previously, he served as vice president for Alumni Relations and Development at the University of Chicago where he led a $2 billion campaign and helped transform total fundraising progress from $160 million per year to over $500 million in 2009. He has also worked at Carnegie Mellon University, the Eastman School of Music, and the New England Conservatory of Music, and has been the associate director and acting director of choral music at Cornell University, where he conducted the Cornell Chorus and Cornell University Glee Club in performances throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Schiller has also served as music director of several other ensembles, including the Boston Saengerfest Men's Chorus and the Voices of Cooperstown. He studied conducting and composition with Thomas Sokol, Karel Husa, and David Conte, among others. He has served on the boards of Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, where he was board chairman. Ron is currently a member of both the American Academy in Rome development committee and the Cornell University Council.

Dana Gioia was named Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California and begins teaching in the fall of 2011. Gioia will continue his affiliation with the Aspen Institute as the Harman-Eisner Senior Fellow in the Arts.

The Aspen Institute Arts Program and Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program were established to support and invigorate the arts in America and to return the arts and artists to the center of the Aspen Institute's "Great Conversation." These programs bring artists and art works to the Institute, and also bring together leading artists, arts managers, sponsors, and patrons to generate, exchange, and develop ideas and policies to assure vibrancy and dynamism in all artistic realms, and to enrich civic culture in ways only the arts can do. These programs draw upon the Institute's long-established convening power, and its well-known association with ideas, values, and leadership. They take advantage of the Institute's fertile nonpartisan and interdisciplinary foundations and integrate arts and artists across the full breadth of the Institute's programs.

The Aspen Institute mission is two-fold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.

SOURCE The Aspen Institute