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President and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony

Gabriel van Aalst will become President & CEO of Dayton Live


Arts executive Gabriel van Aalst has announced his departure from the New Jersey Symphony, where he has been President and CEO since October 2016. He will take up a new role as President & CEO of Dayton Live, the primary host and presenter for performing arts in Miami Valley, Ohio.

Van Aalst joined the New Jersey Symphony at the same time as its current Music Director, Xian Zhang. Together, the pair have done much to raise the organization's profile, as well as its quality of performance — and Zhang is now one of the longest-serving Music Director in the history of the organization.

During his tenure, van Aalst has championed a number of initiatives focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion — including securing an initial $1 million gift to launch the Colton Fellowship program for musicians from underrepresented communities.

He also helped to establish the new position of Resident Artistic Catalyst and oversaw the appointment of Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), the first artist to serve in this position. DBR has introduced audiences to bold and newly commissioned works, including Autumn Days and Nights, Farah (Joy) for Voice and Orchestra, and i am a person who _____ Black people.

"It has been a joy to lead the New Jersey Symphony over the last eight years," van Aalst said. "Sharing this journey with Xian has been a tremendous opportunity that I will continue to look back on with great fondness. I want to thank everyone at the Symphony, from the musicians, staff and board of trustees, as well as our wonderful donors and patrons, for helping to forge a new future for the organization."

"I have incredible memories of attending Symphony concerts and many other events throughout the Garden State, as well as my own personal enrichment in seeing the important work the Symphony does in its expansive education programs and through its impactful community partner programs in schools, hospitals, community centers and more."

"Working with Gabriel these eight years has been a great journey," Zhang said. "His efforts in furthering diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our organization, as well as his leadership during the pandemic, have ushered the Symphony into a new era. While I will miss having Gabriel as a partner in leadership, I look forward to what the future holds. New Jersey has a treasure of an orchestra that continues to reach new artistic heights, which all residents of the state should take pride in."

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