Gaby Sappington Named New Executive Director of World Music Institute

World Music Institute has announced the appointment of Gaby Sappington as Executive Director. Gaby brings substantial experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors to her new role at the start of WMI's upcoming 30th Anniversary Season.


While working in the international departments of leading record companies-BMG Entertainment and SONY Classical-Gaby marketed and promoted diverse artists including The Chieftains, Carlos Nunez, Murray Perahia, and Joshua Bell. Most recently, as an executive at Make-A-Wish-an organization that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition-she spearheaded all marketing, communications and branding initiatives for the Metro New York and Western New York chapter.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to combine my passion for music and dance from around the world with my leadership experience in the non-profit and corporate world," says Sappington. "I look forward to applying what I've learned towards increasing the visibility, funding and relevance of WMI in New York City's diverse communities. The mission of WMI speaks to me on a deep, personal level and I gladly commit to driving the efforts to help foster a deeper understanding of communities around the globe, which I consider to be of great importance."

"Gaby Sappington's appointment continues to usher in an exciting new era for World Music Institute," says WMI Board Chair Paul Palmer. "Our organization has a rich history in New York's world music community. Gaby's knowledge, immense passion, and compelling background will guide and shape a dynamic leadership team eager to innovate and build upon our past accomplishments."

Gaby takes over from acting Executive Director Cynthia McVay, who returns to the Board of Directors after serving nine months in the position. Cynthia stepped into the role in October 2014.

"We are extremely grateful for Cynthia's extensive contributions over the past nine months," says Palmer. "She has proved instrumental in bringing to WMI a new vision, financial stability, a new programmatic approach, key partnerships that broaden WMI's reach, and a first-rate team, including her successor."

The new leadership team at WMI that Gaby joins includes Artistic Director Par Neiburger, who was appointed by McVay in November 2014 and is set to open his first full season of programming on September 15 with a four-night Lusophone Festival, featuring artists from Portuguese speaking nations around the world.

WMI has also hired a new marketing director, Leandro Herbstein, who has ten years of experience in marketing and publicity for Putumayo World Music and was raised in Buenos Aires.

Last month The New York Times reported on World Music Institute's new season, which sees the organization expanding its concert offerings and launching new partnerships with venues including BAM, 92nd Street Y, Storm King Art Center, Le Poisson Rouge, and Drom.

"The new team at World Music Institute and the 30th anniversary program they have put together are impressive, to say the least," says Sappington. "Together we will use this milestone year to increase awareness of and access to the prolific and diverse artistic expressions of the different cultures represented in this city, acting as a well-informed home for all who are interested in learning more about world music and its vibrant community."

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