Manchester Music Festival names new business manager

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MANCHESTER — Dorset resident Kathleen O'Connor has been named business manager of the Manchester Music Festival, set to kick off its 44th season this summer.

O'Connor, who earned a Bachelor's degree from Boston College in French and education and pursued graduate studies in French literature at New York University, boasts extensive experience working in both marketing and sales in both France and the United States.

In her new position, O'Connor hopes to leverage that experience to contribute to the festival's ongoing growth.

"To be a part of this organization that has such a long standing tradition, but also a vision to make Manchester and the Music Festival an essential summer destination for music lovers, is very exciting," she said. "There's such a strong foundation to build on, and to do so in a way that really excites and engages the community in what the festival is doing."

While O'Connor traveled extensively for her previous positions, she says that she looks forward to assuming a more active role in the Northshire community.

As a longstanding lover of the arts, and a patron of the Manchester Music Festival, O'Connor began to increase her community involvement last summer as a project manager for the Art Manchester initiative, organized by Manchester Life Magazine. Last summer, the businesswoman both launched and directed the Al Hirschfeld Foundation pop-up gallery on Manchester's Main Street.

"That was a great experience," O'Connor said. "Not only did it bring a world-renowned artist to Manchester, but it was also an opportunity to see how the community responded."

That opportunity introduced O'Connor to the team integral to the Manchester Music Festival, and she soon set about exploring the organization's board, mission, and needs.

"The festival is committed to maintaining the legacy of what was introduced 44 years ago, while also introducing a whole new level of artistry," she said. "I was intrigued, excited, and happy to join such a terrific organization."

"We are very grateful to have found such a qualified and passionate individual," said Festival President Peggie Telscher. "We look forward to her being an asset to MMF's operations as we grow. With Kathleen's assistance, we believe that we'll continue to develop the Festival's position as a world-class destination for chamber music that attracts top talent and fosters emerging musicians."

The festival, which offers classical music performance and music education to engage the public each summer, will kick off its 44th season at Southern Vermont Arts Center on July 12. Thus far, the Manchester Music Festival has announced the return of artists including Vassily Primakov and Bion Tsang, as well as the debut of the Escher String Quartet.

The festival will culminate on August 11th with an orchestral concert under the baton of Maestro Michael Stern, the world-renowned conductor and son of legendary violinist Isaac Stern. The concert will feature more musicians than ever before, who will be performing symphonic works by Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius. Looking forward, O'Connor says she's excited to be a "team player" in the effort to make the festival come to life.

"The work I've done in the past is very team oriented," she said. "I think I will be bringing that background and understanding of what makes an organization successful, and using that to support the mission and vision of the festival."

According to O'Connor, she'll simply be helping to pave the way for a long future. "The Manchester Music festival is going to be a vital part of the Manchester community for years to come," she said. "The current board is very active, very talented, and very committed to the long-term success and sustainability of this wonderful organization."



Season subscriptions to the Manchester Music Festival are currently available at mmfvt.org. MMF can be contacted by email at info@mmfvt.org or phone at 802-362-1956.

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