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Kansas City Symphony Names Next Executive Director

Symphony Board selects Daniel E. Beckley to succeed Frank Byrne

Daniel Beckley. Photo credit Randall BaughnKansas City Symphony Board Chair William M. Lyons announced today the Symphony Board has selected Daniel E. Beckley as the next Executive Director of the Kansas City Symphony to succeed Frank Byrne, who will complete his nearly 19-year tenure this year. Beckley will assume the role of Executive Director on July 29.

“We are thrilled Danny Beckley will become the Symphony’s next Executive Director,” Lyons said. “Frank Byrne has filled this important position with such deep commitment and extraordinary skill for nearly two decades; he set the bar very high. I am confident Danny will bring the same energy and dedication to the role, continuing our strong track record of artistic achievement, fiscal discipline and community involvement. Danny’s experience as both a musician and a senior orchestra administrator position him well for great success.”

Beckley is a skilled and experienced orchestra administrator. Since 2013, he has served as vice president and general manager of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that time, he was Executive Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina. Beckley’s other experience includes serving as managing director of BlueKey Web Solutions in Charleston, a company he helped found, and he also has been a public school orchestra director. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University and a master’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University. He received additional training from the League of American Orchestras and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Beckley was selected in a comprehensive, seven-month national search chaired by Lyons along with a 15-member search committee comprised of Symphony board members, staff and musicians.

“Our committee was unified in our objective to hire the very best person,” Lyons said. “I am proud of their work and their passion for the mission and future of the Kansas City Symphony.”

Current Executive Director Frank Byrne and Music Director Michael Stern served as advisors to the search committee.

“I am honored and humbled to take the helm from Frank Byrne, and to work alongside Michael Stern, the Board, the staff and musicians of this outstanding organization, to continue deepening Kansas City’s relationship with symphonic music,” Beckley said.

With an annual budget of $19.8 million, the Kansas City Symphony is a thriving and dynamic organization. As Executive Director Beckley will be responsible for all aspects of administration and management, including operations, finance, marketing and fundraising.

He will lead a staff of 35 full-time professionals and work with the orchestra’s 80 full-time musicians to present nearly 200 performances annually. Beckley will work closely with Stern on programming and artistic planning as well as the Symphony Board on strategic planning and other initiatives to continue the Symphony’s remarkable record of success.

Stern is optimistic about Beckley joining the Symphony.

“I am delighted to welcome Danny Beckley to Kansas City,” Stern said. “And I am inspired by what we will achieve together as we look ahead to the next chapter in our Kansas City Symphony story. Given the deep and meaningful alliance I have had with Frank Byrne since my first year in Kansas City, I was hopeful we could find someone to take the mantle and forge ahead with the kind of projects and possibilities that have led to our success over the last 15 years. We found that person in Danny. His focus and capacity for strategic thinking is evident, and I know he will continue to nurture the culture of the entire Kansas City Symphony organization, which is so important to all of us. I am energized by his hopeful enthusiasm, and his passion for music is impressive. On top of the strong financial and administrative foundation we have worked so hard to accomplish, I am inspired by the artistic heights our partnership will strive toward, and I am confident great things are ahead.”

To assure a smooth transition in the role, the Symphony has planned an overlap period beginning in late May when Beckley will take the title Executive Director Designate. He will work closely with outgoing Executive Director Frank Byrne to become acquainted with all aspects of the organization, meet key people and partners in the Kansas City community, and prepare to take over as Executive Director on July 29. This planned turnover time is rarely possible in other orchestras, but is another example of the Kansas City Symphony’s extraordinary culture of excellence and collaboration.

“The Kansas City Symphony has set an impressive standard for our field,” Beckley said. “Hearing these superb musicians connect with each of us in that glorious concert hall — to our thoughts, emotions and our being — creates a special place of belonging where we can all come together. The people of Kansas City have built this remarkable organization, and I look forward to leading the Symphony to an even brighter future.”

To learn more about the Kansas City Symphony, visit kcsymphony.org or call (816) 471‑0400.