Alastair Willis Renews Contract With South Bend Symphony; John Axelberg Elevated to President
South Bend Symphony Orchestra announced today the extension of Music Director Alastair Willis' contract through 2025 and the appointment of John Axelberg as Board President. Grammy Award-nominated Willis has served as Music Director since 2017 and has been widely credited with amplifying the Symphony's presence. Axelberg has served on the Symphony's Board since 2015 and is the well-regarded CEO of South Bend-based General Stamping & Metalworks. He succeeds Tim Maher, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg.
"I am honored to renew my contract with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Our wonderful musicians are a pleasure to collaborate with, and I'd like to thank them, the Board, staff, and audience for their support. I'm proud of all we have achieved so far, and I look forward to continuing our musical journey together and serving our communities," Willis affirmed.
"Alastair is the right maestro for our Symphony," added outgoing Board President Tim Maher. "He was the obvious choice when we hired him, and he has advanced us musically and with the community from the start."
In addition to the renewal of Willis, the South Bend Symphony has elevated Vice President John Axelberg to be the next president, effective July 1, 2020. He succeeds Tim Maher who has served in the position for two years and oversaw Willis' first years as Music Director and led the hiring of Executive Director Justus Zimmerman.
"Tim's legacy as President is an organization well-prepared to weather the uncertainty of the COVID-19 era. Without his leadership, we would be like so many other performing arts institutions facing bankruptcy during this unprecedented time," remarked Zimmerman. "And I couldn't think of a better follow-up than John Axelberg. His management background and penchant for strategic thinking are exactly what we need at this moment."
In addition to Axelberg, the Symphony's Board elected Jennifer Kary as Vice President, John Seidl as Treasurer, and Pat Ruszkowski as Secretary. Full bios of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors officers are below.