Symphony of Northwest Arkansas director returning to Pennsylvania at end of season

Matthew Herren / Courtesy photo

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) this week announced that its executive director, Matthew Herren, will resign at the end of the season.

Herren has accepted a job as executive director of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania where he played as a youth cellist before attending The Juilliard School. He begins his new job on June 15, 2020.

The symphony’s board of directors has established a committee to conduct a national search for Herren’s replacement.

Herren was appointed SoNA executive director in 2014.

“My six years in Northwest Arkansas have been unforgettable,” Herren said in a statement. “It has been a true honor to lead SoNA in this community of collaborative and generous arts leaders and patrons. I know that SoNA’s board, staff and orchestra are poised for continued success, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Officials said sponsorships increased at all levels under Herron’s leadership, as did the organization’s annual campaign and event revenue. In 2018, SoNA’s endowment surpassed $1 million, and audience reach has grown to 20,000 annually through concerts and educational programs.

“In his time here, Matt has taken SoNA to the next level,” said Julianne Brown, chair of the board. “With his leadership, we’ve seen tremendous growth and become a stronger organization with an increasingly solid base of support to further our growing mission of bringing quality, diverse programming and education to the region. I’m confident that we have a strong, capable board in place with systems to ensure a smooth transition.”

SoNA is currently celebrating its 65th anniversary season with concerts performed at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.