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Meet Reno Phil President and CEO Aaron Doty

Published February 9, 2024

Meet Reno Phil President and CEO Aaron Doty

by Scott Faulkner

Reno Phil President and CEO Aaron Doty

Last summer I wrote about the Reno Phil’s search for a new President and CEO to succeed Ignacio Barron Viela. The search committee and board acted with real urgency during the Fall, bringing three talented finalists to town for interviews. The Phil chose Aaron Doty. He, his wife Eileen, and their two cats moved to Reno at the first of the year, and he began working at the Phil on January 16th.

I recently sat down with him for a coffee that ended up lasting two hours. Of course, the fact that he is a fellow double bassist, an orchestra manager, and has a Ted Lasso-esque “Believe!” sign above his office door makes me a bit biased in his favor. But biases aside, he will do a fantastic job leading the Reno Phil.

Doty’s career path has given him a varied and solid background for the position. Hailing from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he got his undergraduate music education degree from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, before pursuing graduate studies at the University of Michigan and Ohio University. His experience as a jazz and classical bassist (he was a member of the Madison Symphony bass section), time as a music teacher (3rd grade through college), and his master’s degree in conducting will give him “stage cred” amongst musicians. But it is his administrative chops that ultimately earned him the job. For nearly fourteen years, he worked a in a series of positions at the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. From personnel management to finance to director of artistic operations to co-interim executive director, to director of strategy and engagement Aaron was able to experience and guide one of our nation’s leading arts institutions. 

Most of the last five years were spent guiding the Grand Rapids Symphony’s activities and operations to and through the pandemic as their VP and General Manager. That specific experience with an orchestra very similar in size and scale to the Reno Phil positions him perfectly for the President and CEO job here.

From our conversation, it’s clear that Aaron is a really likeable guy, who will fit in to our community wonderfully. As he begins his work in Reno, he is well aware, and appreciative of, all the successes our orchestra and arts community have enjoyed over the years. Before making lots of big, drastic decisions, he is committed to doing a whole lot of listening as he begins his tenure. Aaron is eager to become a rooted member of our community, and speaks repeatedly about his desire to “explore possibilities together.” He raves about the Philharmonic staff he has to work with, and is explicitly committed to investing in them and their growth. Anyone who has ever had a non-supportive boss will realize what a rare and valuable trait this is.

As the Dotys sink their roots into the soil of our community, I encourage everyone to support Aaron and Eileen, and help to set them up for a long, successful, and fulfilling tenure. Welcome to Reno!

Scott Faulkner is principal bassist of the Reno Phil and Reno Chamber Orchestra (RCO). From 2001-2015 he was executive director of the RCO. He is the director of the League of American Orchestras’ Alumni Network, as well as faculty director of its Essentials of Orchestra Management program. He is also a big Ted Lasso fan.

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