Glimmerglass Festival Announces New Artistic & General Director

By Francisco Salazar

The Glimmerglass Festival has announced the appointment of Robert Ainsley as the company’s next Artistic and General Director.

Ainsley will succeed Francesca Zambello, who has served in the position since late 2010 and recently announced the 2022 summer season would be her last with the company.

In a statement, Robert Nelson, Chair of the Glimmerglass Festival Board of Trustees said, “With an impressive, decades-long career in opera as a leader, administrator, and performing artist, Robert Ainsley is perfectly poised to lead The Glimmerglass Festival into its next era. Rob has a deep appreciation and understanding of Glimmerglass, and very much looks forward to becoming a part of the Cooperstown community. We are all excited to welcome Rob to The Glimmerglass Festival family.”

Of his appointment, Ainsley said, “I am honored to be leading this great institution into its 50th season and beyond. Glimmerglass, with its idyllic location and wide-ranging artistic output of the highest quality, has always been a dream company for me. I have long admired its deep commitments to community, the next generation, and inclusive programming representing the diversity of today’s America. The stories we tell bind us together, spread joy, and foster understanding. I want Glimmerglass to continue making unforgettable memories for everyone it touches in an environment where all feel empowered to do their best work.”

Ainsley has served as the Director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists Program and the American Opera Initiative, where he commissioned, developed, and premiered more than 30 new operas, and songs. Ainsley was also Associate Music Director at Portland Opera, Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master at Minnesota Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a guest Chorus Master at English National Opera, and Co-Founder and Principal Conductor of the Greenwich Music Festival.