M.N.A., North Park University, Nonprofit Administration
M.M., West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Vocal Performance
B.M., Eastern Illinois University, Vocal Performance
Publicity and Promotions Specialist, Karl Voigt, works with both the Department of Music and the Office of Cultural Events at Northeastern Illinois University. A professional working for many years in the nonprofit world of symphony orchestra administration, Karl has extensive, firsthand knowledge of the business of performing arts.
Upon completing his master of music degree, Karl spent a year as a freelance musician and voice teacher in the Philadelphia area, and concurrently worked in the Small Business Development Center at West Chester University. He was a paid musician at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore, PA; Washington Chapel in Valley Forge, PA and St. David's Episcopal Church, St. David's, PA. While he enjoyed the abundant performing opportunities that the region offered, it was his knack for administration that led him into the manager’s chairs of several professional symphony orchestras. He subsequently began his orchestra career as the Operations Manager of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was later promoted to Director of Operations.
After only a year in Delaware, he was selected to replace the outgoing Director of Operations at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, Karl was responsible for artistic operations of this regional professional symphony orchestra. Over his seven year tenure in Nashville, Karl was the Director of Operations, Orchestra Manager and Director of Artistic Administration and Education. In addition to being a member of the senior management team which significantly grew the organization in both income and international profile, his other contributions include: oversight and co-production of several recording projects of the orchestra on the Magnatone, Sony and NAXOS labels, including the soundtrack for Liberty! The American Revolution; co-production credits of orchestra performances produced for both local and national PBS; commissioning projects and world-premiere performances by composers Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor; four consecutive coast-to-coast tours with Christian-crossover artist Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas; served as the orchestra’s consultant on a $6 million outdoor performance pavilion at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens; and led the orchestra to its Carnegie Hall debut. Karl was also a paid musician at St. George's Episcopal Church in Belle Meade.
In 2003, Karl was appointed executive director of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra in Paducah, KY. As the ensemble’s chief executive, he transitioned this professional regional orchestra from its former home in a high school auditorium to the city’s brand new, state-of-the art performing arts center. Often credited with raising the artistic profile of the orchestra, Karl’s chief contribution was a strategic operation program which culminated in a 100% increase in sponsorship revenue, increased levels of both donor and performance income, among other things. Karl secured the organization’s first-ever, renewable funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; he expanded the artistic programming which included the addition of a Symphony Pops Series, and he expanded the Children’s Chorus program. Other successful initiatives included increased support and funding from the city of Paducah which resulted in enhanced regional education and outreach programs, and a free-tickets-for-students program.
In 2007, Karl was appointed General Manager of the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park in Chicago. As the business manager for the nation’s only remaining free summer classical music festival, Karl conceived of and executed several successful strategies which led to the organization’s improved cash flow operations, total debt retirement, annual operating surpluses, 100% profitability of its annual concert program book, improved efficiency of annual membership collection, and increased total annual giving year-over-year.
In 2011, Karl joined Northeastern Illinois University and has worked in the University Events Office, Institutional Advancement Office, and finally in the Music Department and Cultural Events Office. He currently works on publicity and promotions for the programs offered through the Cultural Events Office, and works with the music department on outreach, recruitment and publicity. Having completed his M.N.A. through North Park University, Karl’s primary interests in the nonprofit world are centered on the administration of performing arts companies. Specifically, in the areas of collaboration/innovation, and the ideas of improved or new business modeling for sustainability and profitability.
In his no spare time, Karl enjoys laughing out loud, reading, cooking, bike riding, running and being quiet.