Press & News

CMS appoints Suzanne Davidson Executive Director

MAY 13, 2013



The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center announces the appointment of Suzanne Davidson as its new Executive Director.  Ms. Davidson, who will begin her tenure on July 1, 2013, succeeds Norma Hurlburt, who is stepping down after serving in the position since 2000.  Having worked for the last forty-five years in the field of chamber music, Ms. Hurlburt is forming her own business for executive and personal consulting for non-profit organizations. 

Suzanne Davidson has enjoyed a long career as a leader of important arts, education, and entertainment institutions.  She is the former President of the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, and before that was Producing Director of Second Stage Theatre.  She came to Second Stage Theatre after producing on- and off- Broadway for her own production company for a number of years.  Her producing career began with the original production of "Evita", which she oversaw for Robert Stigwood on Broadway and throughout the US and Canada, as Co-Chief Operating Officer for Stigwood Group, Ltd., producer of such classic movies and soundtrack recordings as Saturday Night Fever and Grease.  Ms. Davidson began her career as an associate in the Entertainment department of Paul, Weiss, and most recently has been Associate Dean and Vice President of New York Law School.

On behalf of the Chamber Music Society, Peter Frelinghuysen, Chairman of the Board, commented on the appointment of Ms. Davidson:

As the Chamber Music Society enters an ambitious new phase of growth and innovation, Suzanne Davidson is the ideal person to lead the organization. Her prior experience of leadership at Lincoln Center, and her impressive career-long record of institution building, marketing, and fundraising will be tremendous assets as CMS develops exciting new ways to make chamber music an important part of our everyday culture; grows to meet escalating demand from consistently sold-out concerts; builds a diverse audience of all ages and nationalities; increases its performance schedule at our Lincoln Center home; and expands its presence around the country and abroad. 

CMS Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han responded:

The Chamber Music Society could not be more fortunate to welcome Suzanne Davidson as its new Executive Director. Her broad expertise in the performing arts and entertainment, and her passion for chamber music, bring a wealth of exciting new ideas to our partnership.  We are deeply respectful of the leadership position that CMS holds as the Lincoln Center constituent committed to producing and presenting the highest quality chamber music, from classical to new music, with the finest musicians, and together we already have lots of plans to expand the horizons of the art form, artists and audiences.

On accepting the position, Ms. Davidson remarked:

There is nothing more exhilarating than hearing great musicians create uniquely intimate, thrilling musical experiences in the most beautiful living room in the world – Alice Tully Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s home – and in warm and wonderful spaces around the world.  It is a great honor to have this opportunity to join with world-renowned Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, a powerful, dedicated board and growing Global Council, and a wonderful staff, to lead CMS as it heads towards its 50th Anniversary.  I can’t wait to begin. 



The Chamber Music Society is also pleased to announce the signing of a third-term contract for Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han through the 2018-19 season. The extension of their contract affords them the longest tenure since that of founding Artistic Director Charles Wadsworth. 

Mr. Finckel and Wu Han renew their contract with CMS at a time characterized by acclaimed levels of artistic excellence, innovation, and box office success.

On signing their new contract, they commented:

As we put pen to paper again, at the gracious invitation of our Board of Directors, we are both thrilled by their faith in our vision, and at the same time humbled by the responsibility of guiding this rapidly evolving organization.  Over the past seven years, CMS has become our artistic home.  Our hard-working, inspired staff, our generous and visionary Board, and the incredible artists coming from all over the world to perform, truly make CMS ‘such stuff as dreams are made on.’ We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue our work for CMS, and we pledge to the task our lasting commitment and deepest dedication.



Under the inspired leadership of Mr. Finckel and Wu Han, CMS has experienced impressive growth and expansion in numerous areas:

Sales and audience figures – Lincoln Center:

  • Subscription revenue has increased by 30% over the past five seasons.
  • Single ticket revenue has increased by 41% over the past five seasons.
  • 33% growth in audience over the past five seasons.

New Series Created under David Finckel and Wu Han:

  • Late Night Rose, an innovative café-style performance series hosted by Patrick Castillo and web streamed to a global audience, is now in its third season and selling to capacity.
  • The annual New Music series, created in 2006, expanded in number of concerts and was relocated in 2011-12 due to ticket demand, from the Rose Studio to the larger Kaplan Penthouse, and is also live-streamed. Under David Finckel and Wu Han’s leadership, 25 CMS commissions have had their premieres, with 6 additional commissions to be premiered in the next two seasons.
  • The Art of the Recital, a series showcasing the special interests and talents of CMS musicians in full-length, artist-curated solo recitals, will be inaugurated in the 2013-14 season in the Rose Studio and web streamed to a global audience.
  • The special Britten Centennial series, presented in the Rose Studio by CMS in 2012-13, was also web streamed and sold to capacity. 

National and International Touring and Residency Initiatives:

  • Newly-established presence in Europe, including annual performances at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, and forthcoming appearances at festivals in Augsburg, Germany; Merano, Italy; and Aarhus, Denmark.
  • Annual residency at the LG Chamber Music School in Seoul, Korea (inaugurated 2009-10).
  • Expanded North American presence on tour.  David Rowe Artists, one of the world’s top managements devoted exclusively to chamber music, becomes CMS’s American representative in July 2013.
  • Annual concert series at the Harris Theater in Chicago, IL (inaugurated 2011-12); the St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, MI (inaugurated 2012-13); and Drew University in Madison, NJ (inaugurated 2006-07).
  • Additional returning presence at the Quick Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield, CT; the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ; and the United Way Kauai in Kauai, HI. 
  • Annual U.S. residencies at the Shaker Village Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass in Harrodsburg, KY (inaugurated 2006-07); and the University of Georgia in Athens, GA (inaugurated 2011-12); and an upcoming full-season residency at the La Jolla Music Society in La Jolla, CA. 

Evolution of CMS Artist Roster:

  • The transformation of the CMS Artist Member system to a flexible inter-generational artist roster comprised of the world’s finest chamber music players, currently hailing from eighteen countries.


  • Expansion of the CMS Two program for exceptional young performers from a two- to three-year residency.

Web Presence and Recording Activities:

  • A completely re-designed website, unveiled in 2011, featuring extensive video content of performance and educational events and interviews, in-depth artist video profiles, a web streaming portal, listening examples, and more.
  • Free world-wide live streaming of more than 25 events per season, including concerts, master classes, and lectures.
  • CMS Studio, an acclaimed, audiophile in-house recording label, created in 2007.
  • CMS Live!, a download-only series featuring exceptional live performance recordings from present and past seasons, inaugurated in 2010. 

Growth of CMS Radio Series:

  • CMS’s national and international series of one-hour radio broadcasts drawn from live performances has grown from a 13 week series, to 26 weeks, and in the 2013-2014 season will begin a 52 week schedule.  The series currently reaches some 5 million listeners across the U.S., and is carried by 66 commercial and non-commercial stations representing 195 markets.


Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, rank among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. The talent, energy, imagination, and dedication they bring to their multifaceted endeavors as concert performers, recording artists, educators, artistic administrators, and cultural entrepreneurs go unmatched. In high demand year after year among chamber music audiences worldwide, the duo has appeared each season at the most prestigious venues and concert series across the United States and around the world to unanimous critical acclaim. For thirty-four years, David Finckel served as cellist of the Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet. David Finckel and Wu Han’s wide-ranging musical innovations include the launch of ArtistLed (, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalogue of sixteen albums has won widespread critical acclaim. David Finckel and Wu Han are the founding Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley now in its eleventh season, and have served as Artistic Directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2004. In 2011, David Finckel and Wu Han were named Artistic Directors of Chamber Music Today, an annual festival held in Korea, and David Finckel was recently named Artistic Director and honoree of the Mendelssohn Fellowship, which identifies young Korean musicians and promotes chamber music in Korea. In these capacities, as well as through a multitude of other education initiatives, such as their newly created chamber music studio at Aspen Music Festival and School, they have achieved universal renown for their passionate commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists. In addition, David Finckel serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, and Stony Brook University.  David Finckel and Wu Han reside in New York City.  For more information, please visit


[Photo credits:  Suzanne Davidson by Laura Rose; David Finckel, Wu Han by Christian Steiner.]

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