In Thursday’s (6/30) Wall Street Journal, Barbara Jepson writes, “The Naples Philharmonic is the youngest of Florida’s four major regional orchestras, yet in less than 30 years its annual budget has become roughly comparable to those of the 62-year-old Sarasota Orchestra, the 61-year-old Jacksonville Symphony and the 42-year-old Florida Orchestra in Tampa Bay. Much of the credit for this rapid growth goes to Myra Janco Daniels, its longtime chief executive officer, board chairman and fund-raiser extraordinaire. A retired advertising executive from Chicago, she built a freelance ensemble that performed four times a year at local school auditoriums and churches into a $7.4 million orchestra, ensconced at the sleek $21 million Philharmonic Center for the Arts in the affluent Gulf Coast resort of Naples. ‘The Phil’ opened its doors in 1989, added the 30,000-square-foot Naples Museum of Art to its complex in 2000 … Now Mrs. Daniels, as she prefers to be called, is retiring again. On Wednesday, the Philharmonic Center announced that Kathleen van Bergen, artistic and executive director of the Schubert Club in Minnesota, will become the new president and chief executive officer beginning Sept. 1. Naples attorney Alan Hilfiker will become chairman of the board on Friday. … Among the most important decisions [Bergen] will make in her new post are the selection of a music director for the Naples Philharmonic to succeed Jorge Mester, who steps down at the end of the 2011-12 season, and the hiring of a museum director.”

Posted June 30, 2011