DETROIT — Wayne S. Brown has been named president and CEO of the Michigan Opera Theater. Brown, a native Detroiter, has been director of music and opera for the National Endowment for the Arts since 1997. He succeeds David DiChiera who founded the theatre in 1971 serving as general director of the theatre since its inception and will remain as artistic director.
“We are thrilled to have a man of Wayne Brown’s experience and vision to take over the role that David has so capably carried out for so many years,” said Chairman Rick Williams. “And we are delighted that David will continue as artistic director, the role that’s always been closest to his heart.”
DiChiera announced in February that he planned to step down from his role as general director to focus on the artistic and production side of the theatre. A search committee, including DiChiera unanimously selected Brown as the theater’s new president and CEO.
“We considered a variety of candidates with a variety of backgrounds, candidates from across the country, and none of them equaled Wayne’s level of experience and enthusiasm for the job,” Williams said. He has a glittering professional record, is a nationally recognized and respected figure in the arts community, and is as thrilled to be coming home to Detroit as we are to have him.”
Brown’s roles with the National Endowment of Arts include managing grants for music and opera projects and directing the Jazz Masters Fellowships. Brown also served as producer of music programs for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta, Ga, where he managed music events associated with the 1996 Olympic Games. He also is a former executive director of the Louisville Orchestra founding member of the “Magic in Music” advisory committee for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Brown began his career with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra brining in the DSO’s first annual Classical Roots Concert. He is a graduate of the Music School at the University of Michigan.
“Coming home to Michigan to be part of the city’s transformation and to work side-by-side with a legend like David DiChiera is a huge honor for me,” said Brown. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and I look forward to building on the enormous strides David, the Board and the staff have made in making MOT one of the premier opera companies in the United States. I can’t wait to get started.”