Obituary: Richard Cisek, longtime Minnesota Orchestra executive, League board member, 92

Posted on: November 23, 2020

Richard Cisek, who spent more than three decades in multiple administrative positions at the Minnesota Orchestra, including thirteen years as president, died on November 18, 2020 in North Oaks, Minnesota. He was 92. Cisek was an active participant in the activities of the League of American Orchestras for many years, and served on the League’s Board of Directors from 2002 to 2017. Cisek was born on November 11, 1928 in Buffalo, NY, to Helen and Bruno Cieslinski. He graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, served in the armed forces in Korea, and received an MBA from the Wharton School. ​A tribute on the Minnesota Orchestra website states that Cisek “began his career in orchestra management at the Buffalo Philharmonic, then joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s administrative staff in 1958 as public relations director. He quickly rose through the organization’s ranks, as assistant managing director, manager and ultimately president … During Cisek’s tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra, he contributed to numerous achievements and programs, including the construction and opening of Orchestra Hall; the expansion of the Orchestra’s season to year-round, including the creation of Sommerfest … ​[and] the hiring of Leonard Slatkin, Klaus Tennstedt and Charles Dutoit as principal guest conductors.… His tenure overlapped with … music directors Antal Dorati, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Sir Neville Marriner and Edo de Waart.” Following retirement, he began a consulting career advising orchestras. Cisek is survived by his wife, Kay Fredericks, and three children.