Ravinia Festival President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon
With more than 25 years of arts management experience, as well as a lifelong love of music as both an avid audience member and musician, Ravinia Festival President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon directs both the artistic and financial integrity of North America’s oldest music festival. Appointed in 2020, he is the fourth executive in Ravinia’s 116-year history, where he leads a year-round staff of 55, plus a seasonal staff of hundreds more. Haydon oversees all of the classical and nonclassical programming across the stages of the festival’s 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall, 850-seat Martin Theatre, and 3,350-seat Pavilion, including the annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Haydon is dedicated to building on the “Ravinia experience”—welcoming audiences from throughout Chicagoland to enjoy concerts on the festival’s verdant 36 acres, inspiring and enabling communities to engage with music through Reach Teach Play, and elevating the next generation of concert artists at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute.
From 2012 until his arrival at Ravinia, Haydon served as CEO of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, where he led a renaissance that included raising over $40 million to quadruple the endowment and invest over $15 million into the historic Rosen House, grounds, and gardens on the 90-acre estate. There, he also launched several new programmatic initiatives, including a more than six-year collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, an expansion of the American Roots series, and the acclaimed In the Garden of Sonic Delights sound art exhibition. Haydon led Caramoor to expand its yearly programming by over 80 percent and he initiated numerous community collaborations, all while improving Caramoor’s financial performance by over 20 percent.
Previously, Haydon was Executive Director of the Ojai Music Festival, which he led through a number of major transformations to further position it as one of the preeminent musical destinations for artists and audiences alike. During a time when many cultural organizations experienced declines in donations and audiences, Haydon helped the Ojai Music Festival double its budget, triple the number of artistic and education programs produced, and improve its balance sheet. A key focus of Haydon’s work was to rally the surrounding community and festival constituents to raise over $4 million, from 2008 to 2011, to completely rebuild the historic 1,000-seat Libbey Bowl, which serves as the home for the Ojai Music Festival and many other events throughout the year.
Earlier in his career, Haydon held positions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Aspen Music Festival. As part of the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, Haydon worked with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Seattle Symphony. He also managed the Cultural Events performing arts series in Tacoma, WA.
A native of California, Haydon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration through the Business Leadership honors program and a minor in music from the University of Puget Sound. He also completed the Stanford Business School’s competitive Executive Non-Profit Leaders in the Arts program in association with National Arts Strategies.
(Photo: Gabe Palacio)