Who Better to Liven up DSO Than Bill Lively?

Preston Hollow resident Bill Lively was named president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra today. While his official start date isn’t until June, he’ll begin working on part-tme basis in April.

Sister publication D Magazine has been covering Lively’s hire since before it become public. Check out  the saga here, and the DSO press release after the jump.


Dallas, TX – January 12, 2011 – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra announced today that Dallas’ premier fundraiser and community leader Bill Lively has accepted the position of President and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Following the completion of the Super Bowl, Lively will begin transitioning from his current position as President and CEO of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. He will be working on a part time basis for the DSO beginning April 1, 2011, until his official start date of June 1, 2011.

“The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is one of our city’s greatest cultural organizations,” said Lively. “I am joining the DSO at an incredible time in its artistic history. I look forward to the challenges as well as the great rewards of taking the DSO to the very highest level, impacting our community here in Dallas, while changing the definition of what the city of Dallas is known for in the future. I am committed to the larger vision of the orchestra, including a planned March 2013 European Tour, an October 2013 East Coast Tour, and plans which are formulating for a major festival in Dallas in 2014. I know that this new role will be one of the greatest joys of my career.”

DSO Interim President Paul Stewart will remain with the organization as COO. Stewart is a successful lawyer and businessman and long-time symphony supporter who stepped in last year when the former president resigned. He has helped the DSO create a strategic plan, launch its Great Orchestra Campaign, and meet a critical $20 million challenge match for the Campaign.

“Bill Lively is a fabulous addition to the DSO and I look forward to working closely with him and, hopefully, learning from his great leadership and fundraising skills,” said Stewart. “Under Jaap van Zweden, our orchestra has shown that it can play at the very highest level. Bill is just what we need to enhance our staff and provide the DSO with the funding it needs for things like additional musicians and regular touring and recording, to put us on a par with the top orchestras of the world.”

“Bill Lively is the best at what he does,” said Music Director Jaap van Zweden. “Having Bill join the staff is a major win for the DSO. Since Bill is a musician himself and is also a proven leader with an extraordinary gift for fundraising, he understands deeply what we need to be able to perform at the highest level. Also, we are grateful to Paul Stewart for guiding us these last months, and are happy that he will remain on the team as COO.”

Noted by D CEO in August of 2009 as the “master of high-dollar fundraising,” Lively joins the DSO after leading the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee, an accomplishment reached after a long history of raising millions of dollars for some of North Texas’ most prestigious institutions. “The Host Committee selected Bill Lively to be its President and CEO because of his remarkable track record in creating new institutions and organizations, and raising millions of dollars to underwrite their operations,” said Host Committee Chairman Roger Staubach. “Bill continues to do a phenomenal job as we get ready for the Super Bowl; now just a few weeks away. I know he will bring the same passion and focus to the DSO that he has given to the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee.”

Ron Gafford, Chairman of the Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors said, “Bill Lively’s proven fundraising ability, strong leadership skills and deep passion for the arts make him the perfect choice to lead the DSO as we continue our Great Orchestra Campaign and look forward to major artistic milestones like our trip to perform at Carnegie Hall this Spring, upcoming plans to tour Europe and more. He and Paul Stewart will make a great team to lead the DSO forward.”

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert continued, “Clearly, Bill Lively has had an incredible influence on the cultural landscape of Dallas. From Southern Methodist University, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee and now with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Bill Lively has been, and will continue to be, one of the great visionary leaders shaping our community. This is exciting news for the DSO and for Dallas.”


Bill Lively currently serves as President and CEO of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. In this position, Lively reports to the Host Committee and its chair, Roger Staubach, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Host Committee’s professional staff.

Prior to joining the Host Committee full-time on January 1, 2009, Lively served as Host Committee Volunteer President and CEO since September 2007. During that time, the Committee developed its management infrastructure, appointed its Board of Directors and Executive Committee, expanded its membership to include more North Texas business, civic, cultural, education and religious leaders, and confirmed the highest number of million-dollar sponsorships in Super Bowl history.

Lively came to the Host Committee after nearly eight and a half years as President and CEO of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts (now known as the AT&T Performing Arts Center). While there, he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the campaign which raised $338 million to design and build the Center which opened in 2009.

Lively spent 25 years on the faculty and in the administration of Southern Methodist University. During his tenure at SMU, Lively founded the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, the Doak Walker National Running Back Award and SMU’s Athletic Forum.

Lively also spent 23 years in service to the Dallas Cowboys and the National Football League. From 1975-98, he served as Director of the Dallas Cowboys Band and game day Executive Entertainment Producer. Lively produced entertainment for Super Bowls XII and XIII.

In Lively’s early career, he served as a teacher, conductor and band leader and was an accomplished trumpet player through high school and college. Lively also had great ambition to be a composer. Now, with Lively’s appointment to the position of president and CEO at Dallas Symphony Orchestra, he comes back to his first love – music.

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