PLYMOUTH — The New Hampshire Music Festival (NHMF) announced that it has elected Deborah Leonard Kosits as its new executive director. After serving as the interim executive director since September 2013, Kosits, a Meredith resident, was elected unanimously by the board of directors to take on a permanent role with the nonprofit.
"We are pleased to welcome Deb back to the festival family, and we look forward to an exciting future for our organization," said Board Chair Dick Hanaway. "Her leadership, insight and connection to the community have allowed us to explore new opportunities and expand in new directions, and her passion for music is evident from the moment you meet her."
Kosits has spent more than 30 years as an HR executive at Citibank and GE as well as having consulted for global firms, small businesses and nonprofits. Her consulting practice has focused on partnering with individuals and organizations to navigate change, transform and position themselves for growth. She was the founding board president of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, was president of the Festival's Friends Council in 2003-2004, and has consulted to a number of nonprofit organizations in the region. Raised in New York, Kosits' passion for music was cultivated by her dad, an avid fan of the Saturday Texaco Met Opera broadcasts. She studied piano through college and sang in the high school chorus.
"I'm truly excited to be working with the festival at such a crucial time, and I'm very optimistic about the future. We have incredible artistic direction in Donato Cabrera, a new relationship with Dan Perkins as director of choral activities and principal guest conductor, and a dedicated team of musicians, staff and board," said Kosits. "Our strategy to build a healthy and long-lasting festival focuses on broadening our reach, developing programming and venues that appeal to a wider audience, and collaborating with like-minded organizations. Success will be defined by our ability to engage all members of our communities, expanding our relationship with Plymouth State University and local businesses." Kosits will continue a limited executive coaching and consulting practice in addition to her role at NHMF.
In addition to appointing a new executive director, the NHMF board has announced that Dan Perkins will join the festival as principal guest conductor and director of choral activities. He is replacing Joel Johnson, who retired as conductor of the New Hampshire Music Festival Symphonic Chorus after 50 years of service.
"I'm incredibly pleased that Maestro Perkins is joining the NHMF family as our principal guest conductor. He brings an impressive musical expertise as well as a unique and valued connection to the local artistic community that will only strengthen and deepen NHMF's relationship to our beloved audiences and beyond," said Donato Cabrera, NHMF's music director.
Perkins has been a professor of music and director of choral activities at PSU for 23 years. He is founder and music director of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, music director of the Manchester Choral Society, and was principal guest conductor of the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet from 2004-2009, returning in November 2014 as conductor of the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) Orchestra Festival. Perkins will have his Carnegie Hall conducting debut on April 20, 2014, with singers from Master Chorale, Manchester Choral Society, PSU Chorale and choirs from throughout the U.S.