NEWSLETTER ARTICLE: New Local Arts Leaders!

Just wanted to let you know about two new local hires in the South Bend arts scene! First up the South Bend Symphony Orchestra has found the successor to Tsung Yeh. The new maestro is Alastair Willis! Here is a little info on Mr. Willis:

“The Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world.  Most recently, he completed a successful tenure as Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, which serves the communities of Springfield and Bloomington/Normal.  Willis has been a staff conductor for the Seattle Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras; and led acclaimed ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic as a guest conductor, as well as Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble”.

Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Alastair Willis spent his formative years in the United Kingdom.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from England’s Bristol University and an Education Degree from Kingston University.  He then moved to the United States and earned a Master’s Degree in Music from Rice University.  He currently resides in Seattle with his family, and is looking forward to making South Bend his second home.”

We look forward to having Mr. Willis in the building when the SBSO returns to the Leighton!


Next up, Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s own Aaron Nichols has been named the Executive Director of South Bend Civic Theatre. Aaron’s been a part of the NDSF for many years and we’re going to miss him around here. Here’s his bio for those who don’t know him:

“Nichols comes to SBCT from the University of Notre Dame, where he most recently served as audience development manager for Shakespeare at Notre Dame. He also brings experience in human resources, communications, and operations from eight years of service with global manufacturer NIBCO Inc. Nichols is an active member of the local performing arts community, with acting and directing credits at SBCT, The Acting Ensemble, Elkhart Civic Theatre, the Notre Dame Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, and the Bethel College Theater Arts Department. Nichols was graduated from Taylor University, Upland, Ind., with a bachelor of arts in mass communications. He is presently completing an Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy with National Arts Strategies at the University of Pennsylvania.”

All of us who know Aaron know how good a fit he is for this job. Congrats go out to Aaron and we wish him the best!




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