Executive Director, Kevin Smith, Steps Down From Role

Current Abilene Philharmonic (APO) Executive Director, Kevin Smith, has informed the Board that he has accepted a position with Artis-Naples, in Naples FL, and will be stepping down from his role at the end of the concert season. His last day with the organization will be June 13th.

Mr. Kevin Smith joined the Abilene Philharmonic on May 1, 2017, and has led the organization through tremendous growth and revitalization. He held a vision of bringing the APO’s mission statement to life by using music to create a wellspring of inspiration, education, and entertainment.

During his time with APO, Mr. Smith sought to increase the organization’s awareness among the younger demographic. He successfully captured these goals by:

  • Curating events for younger music enthusiasts in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who enjoy exclusive events such as Bachtoberfest, Zoo Concerts, Escape Rooms at the Grace Museum, and Beer and Wine Pairing concerts.
  • Leading the revival of the Abilene Youth Orchestra after a 13-year absence
  • Facilitated the creation of a string preparatory program called Mission: Strings
  • Developing a partnership with Day Nursery of Abilene to provide childcare during concerts. 


2020 proved to be a difficult year for live performances and required a strong “adapt or perish” approach for organizations to survive. Mr. Smith and his team rose to the challenge and created unique and creative ways for patrons to safely immerse in thoughtfully curated musical experiences.

It is due to this forward-thinking leadership that led to the APO winning the 2020-21 Abilene Chamber of Commerce award “Nonprofit of the year”. The Chamber of Commerce writes, “…Their tenacity was shown throughout the pandemic by finding innovative ways to unleash the power of music through living room concerts, outdoor concert series and many more. Congratulations, Abilene Philharmonic Association!”

The APO recently announced the completion of Phase 1 of its Music Director Endowment campaign with over $2 million in pledges and contributions. This accomplishment will secure and enliven the musical culture in Abilene for years to come.

There is no doubt that Mr. Smith’s tireless and persistent work has created a burgeoning revival for the APO as evidenced by the highly-attended concerts, community recognition, and overall growth of the organization. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous work Kevin has done for the APO and the Abilene Community,” said Board President Mandy Gollihar. “We are sad to see him leave, but understand his desire to be closer to family and wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor.”  

  • The APO Board is moving quickly and has already appointed a search committee that will begin a national search immediately. 
  • For more information about the Abilene Philharmonic or the Executive Director position, please visit our website at AbilenePhilharmonic.org or call 325-677-6710

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About Abilene Philharmonic

One of the most prestigious performing arts organizations in West Texas, Abilene Philharmonic unleashes the power of music to entertain, educate, and inspire through live symphonic music and community engagement. Founded in 1950, the organization has grown from a volunteer community orchestra to a regionally recognized professional symphony orchestra. 

For more information, please visit www.abilenephilharmonic.org

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