Music & Arts Administrator
Jim Hirsch has served as CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta since August of 2004. During his tenure, the organization’s budget has increased by over 85% and programming has expanded in important new directions. In 2016, the Chicago Sinfonietta was selected to receive the MacArthur award for Creative and Effective Institutions – the “genius award” for non-profit organizations – and a Chicago Innovation Award.
Prior to his work at Chicago Sinfonietta, Hirsch served as Executive Director of the Chicago Association for the Performing Arts, managers and programmers of the Chicago Theatre, and as the Executive Director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, driving the organization to become the largest institution of its kind in the world.
Hirsch has served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois and Oregon Arts Councils, and as a member of NARAS (Grammy) Awards and Nominations committee. He produced a nationally-syndicated radio program for NPR and has released three commercial recordings. Hirsch was chosen by Crain’s Chicago Business for their annual 40 Under 40 article that honors Chicago’s up-and-coming business executives under 40 years of age and was named Chicago Arts Entrepreneur of the Year in 1996 by Columbia College. In 1998, he was chosen as one of Chicago Magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year. In 2011 Hirsch received a Midwest/Chicago Emmy Award for Best Arts and Culture Documentary as Co-Producer of Chicago Sinfonietta: Sounds of Diversity. He was selected by Musical America as a 2017 Mover and Shaper and as one of Chicago most influential music professionals by New City in 2019.