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May 30, 2013

Contact:  Samuel Lowry
              (941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera Appoints Stacy Ridenour as Director of Development


Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera’s Executive Director Richard Russell announced today that the company has appointed Stacy Ridenour as its new Director of Development in an executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group.  As Director of Development, Ms. Ridenour will supervise a department working toward an annual fundraising goal of $2.75 million and creating a funding strategy to support the company’s future plans.  She will officially assume her new role on July 1, 2013.

“I’m delighted that Stacy will be joining Sarasota Opera,” says Mr. Russell. “She brings an incredible wealth of experience in the non-profit arts world and I know will be a valuable asset to the company as we chart our future.”

 Ridenour, Stacy
Stacy Ridenour, Sarasota Opera’s New Director of Development

Ms. Ridenour adds, “And I am equally delighted to be joining the esteemed Sarasota Opera. I am looking forward to working with Richard, the staff, board, donors, volunteers, and business and community leaders to build on great philanthropic traditions and to pioneer new ones.”  

Lee Kappelman, Vice President at Arts Consulting Group (ACG), said “Sarasota Opera is a vibrant organization with a dynamic team and artistic programs.  ACG congratulates the many stakeholders involved in the executive search process who will benefit from Stacy’s expertise and passion for the performing arts.”

A trained concert pianist, Ms. Ridenour currently serves as the Vice President of Development with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, an organization with an $8 million operating budget. Previously, she held the position of Executive Director with the same organization from 2008 through March 2013. During her time in Jacksonville, Ms. Ridenour launched new patron engagement programs, expanded education programs to include pre-school and afterschool programs, and expanded the regional patron base. Under her leadership the organization completed a $1 million special gift/chair campaign and expanded the organization’s planned giving program. She is currently overseeing a $400,000 community challenge campaign toward the organization’s $4.3 million annual fund goal.     

Prior to working in Jacksonville, Ms. Ridenour was the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra where she oversaw an operating budget of $2.3 million with no deficits for 10 consecutive seasons.  She successfully completed a $4 million endowment campaign with a $1.25 million matching grant from the Ford Foundation.  Ms. Ridenour has also served as adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University and as Vice President/General Manager of the Grand Rapids Symphony.

She is married to concert pianist and conductor Rich Ridenour with whom she has two children; Brandon, a Juilliard graduate who has played trumpet with the Canadian Brass for the past seven years, and Ross, who is a pilot with IFL, an air cargo transport company.     


Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, 2013-2014 will mark Sarasota Opera's 55th consecutive season. In 1960, the company began presenting chamber-sized repertoire in the historic 320-seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979 and first performing in it in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House. The theater has just undergone a $20-million renovation and rehabilitation enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008, has been called “one of America’s finest venues for opera” by Musical America.

Since 1983 the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi. Since then the company has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs.  Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Invitation to Opera performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program.

The 2013 Fall Season will feature Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus followed by the Sarasota Youth Opera production of Britten’s The Little Sweep. The 2014 Winter Festival will include Verdi’s Il trovatore, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Verdi’s Jérusalem. Subscriptions for the 2013-2014 season are now available by calling (941) 328-1300 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office. Single tickets will go on sale August 1st online ( ) and September 3rd in the box office.

Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.

Arts Consulting Group is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, fundraising & marketing consulting, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. The firm is located in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and Chicago with consultants in other communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of its clients.   


Sarasota Opera
61 N. Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 366-8450