Joanna Lewis Resigns as Chairman, President, and CEO of the Academy of Music: Celebrates Over Eight Years of Dedicated Service
Philadelphia Orchestra Chairman Richard B. Worley to Act as Interim Chairman
(Philadelphia, May 31, 2013)—The Philadelphia Orchestra has announced that Joanna Lewis, president, chairman, and CEO of the Academy of Music has resigned as of May 10, 2013 after more than eight years of dedicated service. Richard B. Worley, current Philadelphia Orchestra chairman, will serve as interim chairman for the Academy while a successor is sought. Mr. Worley is Founder and Managing Partner of Permit Capital, LLC and was appointed chairman of the Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association (POA) in March 2009, assuming that role in September 2009. Previously, he had been a member of the Orchestra’s Board for a total of nine years, and served as co-chair for the Academy of Music 147th Anniversary Concert and Ball. Ms. Lewis—who was named vice president of the Academy in 2005, president in 2007, and received the added titles of chairman and CEO in 2009—has served as a staunch advocate for the continuing preservation of the country’s oldest operating opera house, including overseeing the restoration of the historic chandelier and the Ballroom, as well as numerous façade renovations.
Ms. Lewis has worked tirelessly as a philanthropic leader for (and generous donor to) the Academy, spearheading an extensive array of renovation projects both large and small aimed at supporting the ongoing restoration efforts of this National Historic Landmark. Highlights include a massive chandelier and lighting restoration project spanning two years; the restoration of the Academy’s historic Ballroom; a myriad of exterior renovations including repainting of the Broad Street and Locust Street façades, hardware replacement on the Broad Street doors, and re-roofing of the Southwest corner; restoration of the Balcony restrooms and lounges; new restrooms and lounges for stage crew members; re-carpeting of the Parquet level; installation of step lighting; repainting of all four levels of Ambulatory ceilings; and reconstruction of the Family Circle and Amphitheatre restrooms. Ms. Lewis was also instrumental in facilitating a survey of the Academy conducted by GWWO, Inc./Architects. This comprehensive facility assessment (funded by Ms. Lewis) accurately detailed the condition of each space in the Academy, projected the amount of money needed to bring the building up to functional levels, and generated a comprehensive maintenance plan to reduce future expenses.
During her time with the Academy, Ms. Lewis has also overseen or been involved with 25 Academy of Music Concert and Ball events—serving as Invitations co-chair twice (in 1993 and 1997); vice chair of the Invitations Committee (1996); Program Book co-chair (1998); and co-chair of the 145th and 155th Academy Anniversary Concert and Ball (in 2002 and 2012). As further evidence of her visionary leadership, Ms. Lewis has successfully engaged a wide range of celebrated talent for six consecutive years for the annual Academy Anniversary Concert and Ball, including such notable celebrities as vocalists Billy Joel, James Taylor, Sting, Paul Simon, and Diana Krall; commentator Chris Matthews; actors Blythe Danner, Tony Danza, and David Morse; soprano Renée Fleming; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and most recently, Broadway star Hugh Jackman.
During her tenure, Ms. Lewis also established a Young Friends program of the Academy, which strives to build awareness and support of the Academy of Music Restoration Fund mission among young professionals of the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond. Funds raised through Young Friends events contribute to the Young Friends Fund of the Academy of Music Restoration Fund, and facilitate the funding of restoration and preservation projects. In 2008, Ms. Lewis was the driving force behind the creation of the Sound and Light Show—a film shown before all Academy events to educate the public about the historical and architectural significance of the building. That same year, she created the Academy of Music Newsletter which is still in existence today.
Ms. Lewis presided over the founding of a new Academy of Music Board of Trustees governing body, established in December of 2009 and from 2010-2012, she helped the Academy of Music successfully navigate reorganization in collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has owned the Academy of Music—a National Historic Landmark and the oldest operating opera house in the nation—since 1957. For more information on the Academy of Music, visit www.academyofmusic.org.