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Rising Stars: Meet Clare Cannizzaro Executive Director of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clare Cannizzaro. She shares her story with us below:

Clares love of the performing arts began very young when her parents introduced her to musical theatre. Growing up in rural West Virginia, there was little opportunity to pursue much more than a dance class at a local studio. But determination won and she began dancing with a ballet company at the age of 14, majored in Musical Theatre in college, and immediately joined her first national tour as a professional dancer/actor/singer. She met her future husband on that first tour, which will always be her favorite story to tell! Bartolo is a production stage manager and Clare decided to pursue theatrical management as well so they could work together on different productions. This began a 15-year-long career as a theatrical company manager for touring dance and theatre productions – with a few breaks to open their own dance/acting studio and have three kids! Clare was a trained performer and never expected to work in theatrical management. But she had some incredible mentors to guide her and they shared the belief that she could do anything if she worked hard enough. She still firmly believes this and is doing her best to instill this belief into their three sons. If you are passionate about something, go do it. No matter how challenging.

Clare and Bartolo closed their dance studio in WV and moved their young family to New Philadelphia, OH when Bart got a position as Production Manager at the KSU-Tusc Performing Arts Center. Not long after, Clare was hired as the Executive Director of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra and Choruses – an 87-year-old community treasure that is the resident orchestra of the Performing Arts Center. It seemed serendipitous that the Philharmonic office is also at the PAC, where Bart works – and working together professionally as a husband/wife team is something they do extremely well. “I love my job – I love sharing new cultural experiences with others and introducing them to music that maybe they haven’t heard before. To have a job that I love AND to be able to share every part of that with my family, is truly special.”

Being the Executive Director means that Clare has to know all the moving parts of every aspect of the orchestra…and she has an amazing staff and Board of Trustees who provide a huge amount of support as well…which is crucial for an arts organization. To have shared goals, visions, and dreams of growth and expanding outreach, especially to young people in the community, and ALSO adults who have never experienced an orchestra concert, is so important. Clare is passionate about involving the community and giving children AND adults the educational opportunities that allow them to explore performing arts in a supportive, encouraging, stress-free environment. Having the chance to open doors for others, to show them that the world is at their fingertips, is such an exciting place to be. And as the Executive Director of this amazing, historical organization with such rich history, Clare hopes to open many, many doors!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
“Coming from a theatrical management background, one would think that stepping into a management position for an orchestra would be simple. But it definitely has its differences, especially navigating the pandemic and other transitions. The TPO Music Director/Conductor of 25 years recently retired and guiding the board through hiring a new Music Director/Conductor was the first order of business when I took the Executive Director position. Along with other staff turnover, scheduling challenges, and getting to know the Philharmonic as a whole, (as well as working 2 other jobs AND homeschooling three boys!) the first year was a balancing act! Now the goal is to create awareness around orchestra concerts…encourage the general public to attend (because you will LOVE the music!), you do NOT have to own a tux to attend one and we welcome anyone who has never attended a concert with open arms!”

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
“I feel like my passion for connecting with others is what makes me tick. From introducing a concert to speaking to potential financial sponsors for the orchestra to making sure there are snacks for the kiddos at TPO summer camp, I truly believe that one smile, one kind word, or one invitation to be part of something, can change another person’s life. I put my heart and soul into anything I feel could make a difference for one other person. And in doing so, I hope that helps the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra and Choruses become a place where everyone feels at home, united in music and song, welcome to be their true selves, and excited to be part of something bigger.”

What matters most to you? Why?
Making others feel special is key. My leadership style is to be as involved as possible in every area and to celebrate the strengths of everyone around me by encouraging them to focus on those strengths as well. Knowing they have something unique to offer and that they are part of a united team with a shared mission, makes for joyful work!”

Pricing:

  • $15.00 (Student concert ticket)
  • $24.00 (Senior concert ticket)
  • $26.00 (Adult concert ticket)

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