Farewell Nick and Welcome Susan

Thank you for a wonderful 25th Anniversary Season! We’ve done so much: a tribute to Weinberg, sold out opera performances, Messiaen with Eric Zivian and Sarah Cahill, the Orpheus myth, and now Schoenberg’s Serenade. It has been my pleasure to be a part of this venerable organization the past three seasons. Time and time again Left Coast has reinvented itself by extending a hand to tradition while maintaining a laser focus on the future.

Left Coast isn’t done dreaming big, and we have a thrilling 26th season planned. We’ve worked very hard to keep subscription prices stable, even with rising costs. One of the best ways to support Left Coast is to subscribe early!

We need your help if we are to continue this momentum. If you appreciated our season, I ask you to please consider making a donation. There are many ways to get involved: we are always looking for volunteers, promotional partners, and we have a few openings on the board. Please come talk to me or Susan. You can also designate a large gift for a specific cause such as commissions, concert sponsorship, or education.

Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I announce this will be my last season. Although I will be pursuing other career opportunities, I am pleased to say that Left Coast is stronger than ever and poised for growth. Our series is firmly established in Berkeley, our subscriber numbers are up, we are consistently selling out performances, and our staff capacity has increased to match the demands of this esteemed ensemble. None of this would be possible without the enthusiasm of the musicians, board, staff, volunteers, subscribers, and of course donors.

Many of you have grown acquainted with Susan Thieme this year, our marketing and box office manager. I’m elated to announce that she has been chosen as our new managing director, effective June 1. She has exceeded all of our expectations because of her keen intellect and professional demeanor. Without her this season would not have been possible, and we didn’t know how badly we needed her until she arrived. This new role is well deserved, and I know she’ll take Left Coast to the next level.

I want to thank the musicians and board for the trust they placed in me, and especially Anna Presler and Will Schieber for their constant support in all of our new initiatives and visionary leadership as artistic director and board president. I’m also thankful they’ve invited me to be a part of the advisory board, so you won’t be rid of me so easily! I look forward to serving Left Coast in this capacity.

Nick Benavides