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San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory’s (SDYS)’ Board of Directors is excited to announce Dr. Michael Remson as its new President and CEO. He will commence the position on Jan. 7, 2019 and succeeds Dalouge Smith who concluded his 13th year with SDYS in July.
Having been at the American Festival for the Arts (AFA) for 22 years, Dr. Remson has spent the last 11 years as the Executive and Artistic Director. In that role, he directed all programs, fundraising, marketing, administrative and collaborative activities for Houston’s leading non-profit provider of music education programs for young people.

“We could not have found an executive whose skills, experience, passion, and vision more closely aligns with SDYS,’” said Ernest Smith, SDYS’ Board Chair. “Michael has deep experience growing organizations focused on community-based music instruction and performance, building ties with donors, students, partners, and other stakeholders. He also has the leadership, management, and operational expertise to help SDYS scale to its next level of success. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him to SDYS, and to the San Diego community.”

As AFA’s leader, Dr. Remson’s accomplishments included increasing organizational impact on Houston’s young people nearly twenty-fold – expanding capacity from summer-only to year-round programs and services. He created and implemented in-school outreach programs serving thousands of children, accomplishing this through collaborative local and regional partnerships.

During his long-tenured career, Dr. Remson has managed budgets in excess of two million dollars and staff of 15 people, plus teaching artists. While at AFA, he was responsible for growing the organization’s budget four-fold during his tenure, expanding funding from local-only to national-level support, rebranding the organization and collaborating with AFA’s Board of Directors through two successful strategic planning processes and leading more than 100 full-time staff and faculty artists.

“I couldn’t be more humbled and proud to assume the position as SDYS’ President and CEO. This organization has an international reputation of being on the leading edge of youth arts education and programming,” said Michael Remson. “From serving over 2500 young musicians in SDYS’ Conservatory Program over the past 13 years, to restoring music and arts education to over 40,000 children through SDYS’ Opus program, school, and partnerships, no other youth arts organization can boast such a broad and consistent track record of success. I am excited about working with SDYS’ Board, staff, students, donors, faculty, parents, and partners to continue SDYS’ momentum, and help scale the organization to its next level of success.”

Dr. Remson has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from New York University, Gallatin Division, master’s degree in music composition from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition and playwriting, and Master of Musicology from the University of Houston, Moores School of Music.

Among his accomplishments as a composer, Dr. Remson has had original works performed by Houston Grand Opera’s Opera To Go and was featured as part of the New York City Opera Showcasing American Composers program. His works have also been performed by Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, Texas Tech University Opera, Hardin Simmons College Opera, Houston Ballet and Rhode Island College Choruses. He has also published two books on nineteenth-century American Music.
In addition to serving on the faculty of the University of Houston Moores School of Music, he most recently sat on the faculty of the Houston Ballet Academy.

“Michael’s impressive experience in growing and developing community-based arts organizations provides him with an ideal background to continue to fulfill our mission of instilling excellence in the musical and personal development of our students, and our vision of making music education accessible and affordable for all,” said Jeff Edmons, Music Director and a 22-year veteran of the SDYS organization. “I am thrilled to welcome Michael to the SDYS family and look forward to a wonderful collaboration with him and with our dedicated Board and Staff, as we continue to impart the joy and life-changing impact of music education for our students, our families, our community and beyond.”

“Our SDYS team has done an outstanding job during this transition,” stated Amber Weber, Acting President and CEO at SDYS. “Our staff has collaborated and supported each other in all areas of our work. We look forward to partnering with a like-minded leader who shares our commitment to excellence and can continue to lead the organization in pursuit of our mission and vision.”

SDYS has a 72-year history of setting the region’s highest standards for excellence in music education through its Conservatory Programs. The Community Programs are the focal point of SDYS’ commitment to building community support for student achievement through music.

About the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory

Established in 1946, The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) is the 6th oldest continuously operating youth symphony in the United States, serving over 600 beginning through advanced and pre-professional students annually in 12 orchestras and ensembles.  SDYS has been under the direction of Dalouge Smith, President and CEO for over 10 years, and Jeff Edmons, Music Director, for over 20 years. Performances at world-class venues including Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall and California Center for the Arts in Escondido provide opportunities for San Diegans to witness the talent and dedication found in our local young musicians as they hone their performance skills.

In addition to its conservatory programs based in Balboa Park, SDYS is a nationally recognized leader in music education advocacy.  Driven by a vision of accessible and affordable music education for all, SDYS has been instrumental in the return of major arts and music education funding and programs to public schools throughout San Diego County.   Through SDYS’ growing collaborations with parents, educators, researchers, and community partners, SDYS strives for an educational system in which every young person inspired by the art and rigor of making music embodies a future rich with hope, joy, and the rewards of personal achievement and community involvement.

For more information, contact:

Anji Taylor
Communications Coordinator
619-233-3232 ext. 190

San Diego Youth Symphony