Carnegie Hall trustees elect Robert F. Smith chairman

Posted on: June 3, 2016

“The trustees of Carnegie Hall on Thursday elected Robert F. Smith, a private equity billionaire, as their new leader … making him the first African-American chairman of the country’s premier concert stage,” write Michael Cooper and David Gelles in Friday’s (6/3) New York Times. He succeeds acting chairwoman Mercedes T. Bass. “Mr. Smith, 53 … joined Carnegie’s board in 2013…. While still in high school, [Smith] talked his way into an internship at Bell Labs intended for college students, worked at Goldman Sachs as an adviser to technology companies before starting his own firm, Vista [which] manages approximately $25 billion in capital commitments…. He recently started a foundation, the Fund II Foundation, which donates money to a variety of causes, including … music education. At Carnegie he has donated money to support the expansion of Link Up, a program that develops music curriculums for more than 90 orchestras; he was also a founding patron of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, created by Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute…. Mr. Smith’s election as Carnegie’s chairman comes at a moment when many cultural institutions are working for greater diversity in their programs and in the makeup of their staffs and boards.”

Posted June 3, 2016

Photo of Robert F. Smith by Chester Higgins Jr. / New York Times