The Kimmel Center's projected citywide annual arts festival, to be launched in 2011, doesn't have a name yet, but its executive director is to be announced today. He is J. Edward Cambron, a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he has served in numerous capacities from subscription manager to director of patron services.
"Ed is the perfect fit to oversee this enormous endeavor," said Kimmel Center president and chief executive officer Anne Ewers in a statement announcing the appointment.
"This will be huge," Cambron said in an interview Friday. "It's a festival that I feel can define Philadelphia's artistic community. It's my role as executive director to manage . . . fund-raising, various production issues, marketing, and public relations." He joins a team that also includes artistic producer Barbara Silverstein.
Already funded with a $10 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation, the initial festival is scheduled to run April 7 to May 1, 2011, centered on early-20th-century Parisian artistic life. Cambron referred to the programming theme as "Stravinsky in Paris" - this was a period when the composer wrote his great ballet scores - though a variety of figures from that period will be examined, as well as some of their 21st-century counterparts. Already, 10 new works have been commissioned for the inaugural festival.
Each year's event will have a theme of sorts, and a mix of performers that will include international-caliber guests as well as local organizations. Featured will be the Kimmel Center's eight resident companies and 50 other local arts organizations, including those in theater, dance, and film, as well as museums, libraries, and galleries.
Starting such a large new festival might seem quixotic in the current economic climate. However, Cambron said, some early festival events will be already-scheduled parts of the Philadelphia Orchestra season. And he noted that he was looking well beyond the current economic situation. "Art is continuing to be created," he said. "This is a relationship with the arts and culture of this city that's going to last a long time."
Cambron leaves his current position at the Philadelphia Orchestra - vice president of marketing and public relations - to take up his festival post as of July 1.
A longtime Philadelphian, he grew up in Shepherdsville, Ky., and, though mainly educated as a painter, began a career in arts administration by working as box office manager of Actors Theatre of Louisville. He also served as audience development director for the Los Angeles Theater Center, and director of marketing for the Florida Philharmonic.