Robert Massey has built a reputation as one of classical music’s most innovative, dynamic, visionary, and entrepreneurial leaders. As the head of the Jacksonville Symphony (2014 – 2019), Orchestra Iowa (2008 – 2014), and the Washington Bach Consort (2004 – 2008), he led remarkable transformations at each, developing and implementing innovative strategies that enhanced and diversified program offerings, increased accessibility, extended reach, deepened impact, and ensured financial sustainability.
In addition to his work with symphony orchestras, Massey has served multiple arts disciplines including opera (Washington National Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre), ballet (Ballet Quad Cities, Ballet Memphis), performing arts centers (Kennedy Center, Paramount Theatre, Germantown Performing Arts Centre), museums (The Phillips Collection), and “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band.
Throughout his career he has raised more than $200 million for artistic initiatives, built and restored three performing arts venues, successfully negotiated several labor agreements, and has notably enhanced the cultural landscape through new creations, collaborative partnerships, and innovative business models. He famously led the campaign that saved Orchestra Iowa and Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre following catastrophic flooding in 2008.
At the Jacksonville Symphony in December 2014, Massey created programs, both on-stage and off, that attracted new audiences and opened avenues of engagement with symphonic music. Under his leadership, the Jacksonville Symphony expanded its season from 35 to 39 weeks, doubled its annual attendance, and launched the $50 million Vision 2020 Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the organization’s history. He elevated the reputation of the ensemble with invitations to perform at Washington D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts and on public radio’s Performance Today.
As a tireless advocate for the arts, Massey is a frequent speaker and panelist across the globe.
He is passionate about sharing best practices in advancing classical music, as well as managing and motivating the many constituencies that comprise the cultural ecosystem of an arts organization. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Tessitura Network, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, and has been a member of Rotary in Jacksonville and Cedar Rapids.
The expressive beauty and powerful virility of internationally acclaimed baritone and Chicago-native, Franco Pomponi, has brought him to many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and concert halls. He trained at the Juilliard Opera Center under Frank Corsaro and was awarded the prestigious DeRosa Prize. After, he joined the elite Lyric Opera of Chicago Young Artists Center.
His European debut came as Hamlet at the Liceu in Barcelona. That same season he created a sensation as Pentheus in The Bassarids of Henze at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris which brought him worldwide acclaim. Franco’s Chicago debut was as Germont in La Traviata with the Grant Park Symphony.
He has sung over 60 roles gracing the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, L.A. Opera, New York City Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Spoleto Festival, San Diego, Boston, Dallas, Bolshoi Moscow, Opernhaus Zürich, Grand Theatre Geneva, Lausanne, Opéra Comique, Royal Theatre Versailles, Montpellier, Opéra Nice, Opéra du Rhin Strasbourg, Tours, Vichy, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Teatro Massimo Palermo, Cagliari, Madrid, Greek National Opera, Hungarian State Opera, Budapest, Finnish National Opera, and many others. His Carnegie Hall debut was with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a soloist in the Eighth Symphony of Mahler and has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Orchestre du Paris, Orchestre Radio France, Qatar Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Orquesta Nacional de España.
Educated in the rich musical tradition of the Rome’s Conservatory as a conductor, composer, and pianist, Maestro Andrizzi, whose conducting has been praised as “admirable” by the Chicago Tribune and full of “spirit and thoughtfulness” by the San Diego Union Tribune, has become a versatile musician with a vast experience in the symphonic and operatic repertoires and a passion for the many areas of the musical arts. As a conductor, he has worked with world-class companies such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Chicago Philharmonic, Orchestra della Città di Ravenna, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theater, and New Philharmonic. He has also collaborated with important music festivals, including Millennium Park, Pitchfork, Ravinia, and Latino Music Festivals. Many international artists, including Ferruccio Furlanetto, Frederica Von Stade, Maurizio Baglini, Frank Almond, and Joyce Castle have performed as soloists with Maestro Andrizzi in concertos, operas, recitals, and recordings.
In addition to being a passionate conductor, Maestro Andrizzi is a dedicated educator. In fact, he has led the Orchestral Program at the prestigious Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University for several years and has often collaborated with international artist programs, including the Ryan Opera Center, Mediterranean Opera Festival and Studio, and the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program. In addition, he has guest conducted in various university music programs, such as at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. Finally, Maestro Andrizzi has collaborated with several orchestras to create and lead their Family, Education, and Holiday programs, ultimately creating a special relationship with the Chicago Philharmonic and conducting the orchestra’s outreach and side-by-side programs for several years.
Maestro Andrizzi is a recipient of the Honorable Mention Award at the International Competition for Conductors of Contemporary Music “4X4 Prize” and a winner of the “P. Barrasso” International Competition for Chamber Music. He has recorded for Albany Records.
Ella is a director and artistic director of worldwide renown, as well as the director of The International Opera Awards ceremonies. Other directing credits include: the SWAP’ra Opera Gala at Opera Holland Park; The Magic Flute at Copenhagen Opera Festival; The Turn of the Screw and Mad King Suibhne at Bury Court Opera; The Jacobin, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lucio Silla, and Leonore young artist shows at Buxton International Festival; Louise and Otello at Buxton Opera House; a semi-staging of Puccini’s Il Tabarro at LSO St Luke’s; Triptych at Mariinsky II; an international tour of Eight Songs For A Mad King; an opera–ballet production of Renard; a reimagining of Dido & Aeneas as Dido & Belinda; an operatic film of King Roger for Random Acts and Channel 4; and a sell-out West End run of An Evening With Lucian Freud, starring Cressida Bonas. She was the associate director to Mary Birnbaum for The Juilliard School’s Dido & Aeneas (which premiered in New York), and led the European tour of the show to Opera Holland Park and The Royal Opera of Versailles.
In 2015 Ella became the first director to receive an International Opera Awards bursary, and in 2018 she was both an arts-and-culture finalist in the Women of The Year awards and a semi-finalist in the European Opera-Directing Prize. Her work has been supported by Arts Council England, The British Council, and Dutch National Opera with ENOA.
Raised in the Chicagoland area, Mr. Corpus earned his bachelor of music degree in percussion performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and received his master of music degree in music composition from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. As an internationally performed composer, his compositions have been heard across four continents. Highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, RHA Gallery in Ireland, Federal Justice Cultural Center of Brazil, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Chicago Cultural Center. In addition to concerts, he has been featured on CNN Money, the Sound of Silent Film Festival, 98.7 WFMT, the Connecticut Historical Society and Classical King FM: Second Inversion.
Before joining the Lake Forest Symphony, he served simultaneously as the Executive Director for the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, Education Coordinator for the Northwest Indiana Symphony and Drumline Instructor at Loyola University Chicago. Serving as the first Executive Director for the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, he focused on building a strong structure for the organization and established a flagship season sponsorship with the University of Chicago Medicine. While at the Northwest Indiana Symphony, he began multiple new programs including a music educator award, composition competition and a community hand drumming event in East Chicago, Indiana.