Press Releases

Robert Thompson Named Director of New Arts Management Program

Date Released: 4/30/2007

Purchase College has named Dr. Robert Thompson Director of its new Arts Management program, designed for students seeking employment in the arts industries as professional arts managers and managerial staff.

“Dr. Thompson’s distinguished career in music will facilitate his work in creating a dynamic interdisciplinary Arts Management Program on our campus,” said Elizabeth Langland, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Purchase College.

“I believe this new Arts Management program at Purchase has great potential to be unique, innovative and perform an important role in creating a new generation of arts leaders and managers,” said Dr. Thompson.

The Arts Management program is designed to produce arts administration professionals who possess a practitioner’s commitment to and knowledge of the arts, combined with a businessperson’s financial and management skills. Students will learn the skills necessary to manage performing and visual arts organizations such as opera companies, galleries and museums, dance companies, exhibitions and venues, concerts, festivals, community art centers, record companies and other areas of the entertainment and arts industries.

Dr. Thompson is currently a Kaufman Advisor to the University of Rochester, where he mentors students in creating start-up arts organizations and businesses under the Eastman School of Music’s Entrepreneurship in Music Program

For ten years he was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Universal Edition (Vienna-London-New York), the world’s fourth largest classical music publisher, which is home to composers such as Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Arvo Pärt, Arnold Schönberg and Kurt Weill, among many others. During his tenure at Universal Edition, Dr. Thompson expanded the operations of Universal into film and production, and was credited in Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians for having spearheaded the acquisition of new composers such as Osvaldo Golijov for whom Dr. Thompson produced the world-premiere of La Pasión Según San Marcos and its subsequent USA tour. 

Dr. Thompson produced the Grammy-nominated recording, Allegresse, by composer Maria Schneider for ENJA Records, and served as Music Consultant to the Johnny Depp-Cate Blanchett Film The Man Who Cried for Universal Pictures. He has been increasingly successful in placing contemporary classical music in major motion pictures, including the music of Arvo Pärt, in Fahrenheit 911, The Insider, Swept Away and Heaven.

Dr. Thompson’s current work involves creating, funding and producing multimedia orchestral concerts. The most recent, The Baseball Music Project, incorporates imagery and video from the Baseball Hall of Fame.  With the Baseball Hall of Fame as sponsor and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield as narrator, Dr. Thompson has produced and conducted performances with the Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony and with orchestras in Detroit, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Miami, as well as at the Ravinia Festival in 2007. 

Dr. Thompson has worked extensively in marketing and development within the orchestral world, having raised in excess of $5 million for the creation of new works as well as developing new revenue models for corporate sponsorship. He was a partner and business consultant in the creation of which allows artists to develop financing and fundraising models for their projects. 

Together with Purchase College faculty member Dave Gluck, Dr. Thompson co-founded the ensemble Rhythm & Brass in 1994.

Dr. Thompson holds Master’s degrees and a Doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. He previously served as Professor of Music at Hope College and the University of Kentucky. In 2005, he received the University of South Florida’s Distinguished Alumni Award, where he did his undergraduate work. 

He is a voting member of NARAS (The Grammys), serves on boards and committees at ASCAP, BMI, the Music Publishers’ Association of America and the Austro-American Institute of Education, and most recently participated in the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Essentials of Orchestral Management seminar held in January.