Obituary: Arts Administrator Anne Parson Dies, Aged 64

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Detroit Symphony website)

On March 28, 2022, former Detroit Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Anne Parsons died following a long battle with lung cancer.

Parsons is remembered for her 17 years of service as she led the company out of financial turmoil and into the global spotlight through a series of digital initiatives, as well as supporting local students and neighborhoods. She came to the DSO in 2004, having formerly been the General Manager of the New York City Ballet. She has also held leading positions in organizations such as the Hollywood Bowl in L.A., the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

In 2011, she spearheaded the “Live from Orchestra Hall” series which made the DSO one of the first companies to present free webcasts of performances. This was expanded in 2014 with “Classroom Edition,” which brought educational concerts to thousands of students in Detroit and across the globe. Other local projects included chamber music programs, senior engagement concerts, music therapy partnerships, and more.

“I am honored to have been appointed music director during Anne’s tenure as CEO and to have been able to become close with her, Donald, and Cara,” says Music Director Jader Bignamini. “I will never forget Anne’s smile, strength, professionalism, deep humility, and innate sensitivity. Her love for the orchestra and Detroit is our guide as we lead the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.”

Parsons is survived by her husband Donald Dietz and their daughter Cara.