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Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman Stepping Down After 20th Season Helming the Midwest's Premiere Summer Music Festival

Welz Kauffman, longtime CEO of Ravinia Festival in Highland Park (photo courtesy of Mr. Kauffman).

Ravinia President and CEO Well Kauffman recently announced that he will depart the festival upon completing his 20th anniversary year at its helm, following the 2020 season and the opening of the RaviniaMusicBox experience center.


Said Kauffman, "After much reflection, I've decided that this milestone anniversary would be the right time to make way for someone new to shape the festival's future. My goals were to give our board ample time to find that right person, and to oversee the inaugural decades occurred in just a minute, and I have other interests I'd like to pursue-maybe even a summer vacation."

Only the third full-time professional leader of Ravinia—following Edward Gordon (1974-1989) and Zarin Mehta (1990-2000), Kauffman drove major investment into Ravinia's infrastructure, including the forthcoming experience center, which he had been planning for 10 years. Ravinia's Board of Trustees will meet soon to form a search committee and strategize next steps.

"We are grateful to Welz for his significant contributions to Ravinia," said Jennifer Steans, Chairman of Ravinia's Board of Trustees. "Welz is leaving Ravinia in a very strong position with a seasoned leadership team who will carry us through this transitional period."

​Prior to Ravinia, Kauffman also worked for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; Olympic Arts Festival; J. Paul Getty Trust; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.


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