Anna Craft - The New Face of MISOInterview by Gregory Rickenbach
The Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO), under the lead of Rafael Diaz- Balart, has had a number of positive changes over the last few years. An all-star Board of Directors team has been assembled to support our first class symphony orchestra whose efforts will bring the MISO into the future.
One of these new Board Members is Anna Craft, Executive Director of the New Beauty Center. Below she is interviewed by Gregory Rickenbach about her involvement with MISO, the organization’s plans for the future and her passion for the arts.
Meet Anna Craft
GR: What changes have you noticed at MISO since the arrival of the new music director?
AC: Manuel Ochoa, founder of The Miami Symphony Orchestra did a superb job as founder and as the first Music Director. When the time came to pass on his leadership, his choice of Eduardo Marturet was inspired and we are truly fortunate that Maestro Marturet has chosen Miami as his new home. This world-class conductor has delivered impressive performances with MISO and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
Our next goal is to find ways to share our music with all of Miami and with the rest of the world.
GR: To take MISO from Miami to the rest of the world is a very ambitious goal. How are you and MISO going to make that happen?
AC: Miami is a wonderful melting pot of cultures, of people, of languages and, in recent years, of musical and artistic expression. MISO has always been a part of Miami’s artistic renaissance and the next few years will see MISO continue to expand their reach into other parts of the country, and hopefully, around the world.
To make this happen, we are working on developing new ways to draw talent to Miami, to make Miami a music center where we can create a symbiotic relationship between music lovers and performers. Through our Youth Program, MISO is helping to train the next generation of musicians, many of whom will move elsewhere and will spread Miami and MISO’s name as a force in the music industry. There are many exciting things happening this season with MISO and I know that each coming year will bring more and more wonderful opportunities for the Orchestra and for Miami as a whole.
GR: Artistically speaking, where do you see MISO now and where do you think it is going?
AC: MISO is poised on the very brink of becoming the powerhouse we expect it will be. With Eduardo Marturet at the podium, we, on the board, feel that we have all we need to make MISO a world class symphony orchestra. The sheer power of the Maestro’s work, backed by 80 fantastic musicians, creates a musical experience for our guests that just can't be beat. Artistically, South Florida can expect MISO to continue to play beautiful music: both the traditional classical music that we are known for and also to explore a younger, more modern side of the genre.
GR: Kudos to you for getting involved in MISO’s board. We know you have an active professional life, two young boys, and a business to run; why was being involved in MISO so important for you?
AC: My husband and I have always been passionate about the arts because it has had such a great influence in our lives. Like so many people before us, we have become aware that the more you give, the more you get back; it's just a fact of life. I’ve heard so many truly amazing success stories about the power of the arts, and especially music. I believe in MISO and I knew that my skill set would be an asset to the board so I was happy to be involved. I truly enjoy working with the board members and I think we can accomplish great things together.
GR: What are the greatest challenges faced by the board?
AC: As with most nonprofits, the economy is one of our biggest challenges today. While generous, our sponsors are under heavy pressure to restrain their budgets so it makes it difficult for MISO to obtain the necessary funding. Second, getting a larger segment of the population involved is going to take effort and ingenuity, which I am happy to say there is no shortage of on this board. And third, and in my opinion most important, we need to be able to find and hire the best talent available because after all, it is the music that makes MISO the success story that it is today. But the sign of a successful organization is thinking outside the box and using ingenuity to solve difficult problems and that is the position that we are in today. We are creating the foundations for the future, finding solutions to these problems and laying the groundwork for MISO’s future success.
GR: Are there any specific initiatives you would like to see take effect in the future?
AC: Definitely. Children are such an important part of our community and I would like to see MISO commit even more time and effort to bringing music to their lives, to teaching them and to nurturing their artistic abilities. Of course, through our Youth Program, we are working with children every day but we have a duty to give back to the community and I want to set the bar higher for MISO. I see no reason we cannot be the leader in this field.
GR: What difference can MISO make to the life and culture of Miami?
AC: MISO has always been an important part of Miami’s arts scene and, as MISO continues to grow, so will Miami’s cultural offerings. Through MISO’s efforts, Miami will become a destination for music lovers from around the world. This is well within our reach and we intend to do everything we can today to lay the groundwork for this to happen tomorrow.
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