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.