The Scottsdale Cultural Council has appointed Neale Perl as its new president and CEO. A senior executive with more than 25 years of experience in arts administration and presenting, Perl is the president emeritus of D.C.-based Washington Performing Arts, where he served as president and CEO from 2002 to 2013. He will begin his new position on Aug. 11, succeeding Scottsdale Cultural Council Interim President and CEO Richard Hayslip, who will continue to serve the organization as a member of its board of trustees.
“After conducting an extensive national search that produced many highly qualified candidates, we are very pleased to welcome Neale Perl as the new leader of the Scottsdale Cultural Council,” remarked Ellen Andres-Schneider, chair of the board of trustees. “Neale was the unanimous choice of our selection committee and board. His longtime commitment to creating meaningful arts experiences for all people, strong management and fundraising experience, and enthusiasm for the Cultural Council’s mission make him the ideal choice to lead our organization into the future. We look forward to working with him.”
“I am grateful to the board of trustees for inviting me to serve as president and CEO of the Scottsdale Cultural Council,” added Perl. “Thanks to the leadership of the board, dedication of the staff and volunteers, and support of the city and community, the Cultural Council is well-positioned to embark on a new phase of its development and service to the people of Scottsdale. I am excited for the opportunity to grow existing programs, institute new initiatives, nurture and forge community partnerships, and engage diverse audiences for the visual and performing arts.”
During his nearly 11-year tenure at Washington Performing Arts (formerly Washington Performing Arts Society), Neale Perl led one of the foremost performing arts presenters in the country, featuring both emerging and internationally acclaimed artists in classical, world and gospel music, jazz and dance in more than a dozen venues throughout the D.C. area, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to showcasing world-renowned performers, Perl also identified and nurtured gifted young artists, presenting more than 100 debut recitals. Many of these artists have since been recognized with MacArthur (“Genius Award”) Fellowships, Grammy Awards and other honors.
At Washington Performing Arts, Perl created strategies to maximize earned and contributed revenues, increase marketing and branding efforts, cultivate new audiences, and expand community outreach and education programs. He strengthened, grew and diversified the composition of the Washington Performing Arts board of directors, and developed a talented team of staff members. Under Perl’s leadership, the organization’s endowment increased by 60 percent, and a strong operating reserve was established. Washington Performing Arts also formed dynamic partnerships with more than 50 organizations, including Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center, which was engaged to help build a model program for arts education, impacting more than 80,000 students, parents, teachers and performers annually.
Washington Performing Arts received the 2012 National Medal of Arts – the country’s highest award for artistic achievement – from President Obama at a White House ceremony. It is one of only a handful of presenting arts organizations to have received that honor, which is normally given to prominent artists and arts supporters.
Prior to Washington Performing Arts, from 1988 to 2002, Perl was executive director of the La Jolla Music Society, one of the most successful presenting organizations on the West Coast. During his 14 years there, he built an acclaimed summer music festival, high-impact education outreach programs and substantial financial resources for the Society. One of its flagship programs, the Community Music Center, was later recognized for its excellence by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
In addition to being a seasoned arts administrator, Perl is an accomplished musician. He earned his Bachelor of Music in cello performance from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University and his Master of Music from Temple University. He was also awarded a fellowship to study the cello and perform in Paris.
Perl began his career in Washington, D.C., as a performer and teacher. Showing his entrepreneurial spirit, at the age of 25, he co-founded The Washington Chamber Society, with a mission to showcase and promote the careers of exceptional musicians in the region. Perl served as the Society’s executive director from 1981 to 1985, and its artistic director and cellist from 1985 to 1988, developing it into a respected performing arts organization noted for its innovative programming and high artistic standards. From 1985 to 1988, he also worked as assistant director of the University of Maryland’s Summer Institute for the Performing Arts.