The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has announced that arts leader Caroline Sharpen will be the orchestra’s Chief Executive Officer. Sharpen’s contract will commence in January 2019, taking the reins from long-serving Managing Director Nicholas Heyward, who – as announced in March – will step down at the end of 2018 after 17 years at the helm.

Originally from Tasmania, and with longstanding family connections dating back to 1804, Sharpen’s orchestral experience with the TSO started when she was seven and she described this appointment as a “lifelong dream”.

Caroline SharpenCaroline Sharpen. Photo: supplied

“That early experience fuelled my passion for music and shaped my life and career in orchestras and chamber music organisations in Australia and the United States. I’m thrilled to return home to Tasmania and contribute to the artistic growth of the TSO for future generations,” Sharpen said.

Sharpen joins the TSO following senior positions with Musica Viva Australia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and most recently, operating her own consultancy, Sharpen Creative Industries Consulting, which has worked with numerous Tasmanian and high profile arts organisations including the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Sharpen was the first Australian to be awarded a prestigious Kennedy Center Fellowship in Arts Management, a year-long management program that resulted in a placement with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C.

It’s been an exciting year for the artistic leadership of TSO, with the major appointments of Eivind Aadland as the new Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, commencing in 2020, and Swiss-Australian conductor Elena Schwarz appointed as the orchestra’s inaugural Associate Conductor from 2019.

“I am delighted that we have attracted an outstanding appointee as our new Chief Executive Officer,” TSO Board Chair, Dr David Rich said. “I am confident that, working with our newly-appointed Chief Conductor, Eivind Aadland, and building on the strong foundations built by Nicholas Heyward and his colleagues, Caroline will lead the TSO into a new era of exciting innovations and extraordinary artistic achievements.”

“I look forward to working with the TSO’s exceptional musicians, staff and incoming Chief Conductor Eivind Aadland,” said Sharpen. “Together we will build on the orchestra’s incredible legacy and reputation for artistic excellence. We will continue to serve the Tasmanian community and cultivate our unique position nationally and internationally. I can’t wait to start!”