Press Release: Ralph Kuncl Joins ASO as Chief Executive Officer



Press Release

For immediate release

March 28, 2024

Shelley Row, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO), announces the appointment of Dr. Ralph Kuncl as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organization.  Kuncl comes to the ASO following a multi-faceted career as a physician scientist at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and as an executive at leading research universities, colleges, and nonprofits. His decades-long career has informed both his leadership philosophy and ability to inspire philanthropy.  Ralph and his wife Nancy live in historic Annapolis.


About Ralph Kuncl

Ralph W. Kuncl is the Emeritus President of the University of Redlands in California, and prior to that was Provost/Executive Vice President at the University of Rochester in New York (a role that included oversight of the Eastman School of Music). At Redlands, he conceived and led the largest comprehensive campaign in the University’s history, completing its goal of $200 million with a strong advancement team. He sought and obtained the University’s largest-ever single gift of $35 million and helped nurture that donor couple’s personal life giving of nearly $75 million.


He is a musician and community builder at heart, having had oversight of California’s second oldest Conservatory of Music at Redlands, and having been liaison/major supporter of the

Redlands Symphony Orchestra, a regional professional symphony receiving financial and practical business subvention from the University for over 30 years. Because he helped take the Conservatory to new levels of excellence, he was considered by music faculty and visiting artists, as he was before at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, as the University’s “biggest fan and supporter of music.” An endowed music scholarship to the Redlands Conservatory was created in his honor.


Kuncl’s 23 years as an amateur vocal performer in the Baltimore Choral Arts Society continues to propel his interest in musical performance. Those years in a thriving major mid-Atlantic arts

group gave him the developmental opportunity to be a frequent performer with the Baltimore Symphony and the Washington National Symphony under internationally renowned conductors. He appeared with BCAS as a chorister in several CD or TV recordings (one, Emmy-nominated),including the recording of Dave Brubeck’s Gates of Justice. Dr. Kuncl joined the University of Redlands chorus in performing Mozart’s Requiem in 2013 at Carnegie Hall and Verdi’s Requiem in Hollywood in 2014. Perhaps the highlights of his musical experience were the chances to conduct the combined University Orchestra and Chorus in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in the 67th annual Redlands Feast of Lights in 2014, and then to conduct Met Opera Soprano Angel Blue and the Redlands Symphony Orchestra in 2018 in a jazzy improvisation of the National Anthem. He has been a philanthropist of the arts wherever he has lived.


As Chief Executive Officer of the ASO, Kuncl will report to the Board of Trustees through the Board Chair. Kuncl will be responsible for managing all leadership and operational aspects of the ASO, including staff and financial resources. Priorities of the position include fundraising, increasing the patron and donor population of the ASO, renewing and implementing a strategic plan in cooperation with the Board and the Artistic Director, and developing and executing sustainable budget plans. The CEO  is responsible and accountable for implementing the policies set by the Board of Trustees.


Shelley Row, Chair of the ASO Board of Trustees is eager to welcome Kuncl to the ASO. “After an extensive search, we are excited to welcome Ralph Kuncl to the ASO. Ralph brings unique depth as a respected and experienced leader. I’m most excited for the vision Ralph will help us achieve in partnership with Maestro José Luis Novo. The ASO is the professional-level orchestra in your backyard, and with Ralph’s leadership we will grow the impact of the ASO throughout our community,” she said.


Artistic Director and Conductor José Luis Novo said “I am delighted to welcome Ralph Kuncl to the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra as our new Chief Executive Officer. He comes with impressive professional credentials, extraordinary intellect and a passion for music and education that I believe will be an inspiring driving force for our organization. I am very excited to start working together to make sure that while the ASO remains the vibrant institution that it is right now it keeps deepening the reach in our community and beyond.”


Dr. Mary McKiel, immediate past Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee said:  “Ralph Kuncl will bring new leadership and insight to the role of CEO for the Symphony. A former university President, Ralph successfully engaged the diverse communities of students, faculty, alumni, donors and parents in promoting the university and its vision. We believe his unique talents, skills, and pursuit of excellence come to ASO at the right time for building on the Symphony’s solid artistic foundation and expanding the impact of ASO across our community. He will work side-by-side with ASO’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Maestro José-Luis Novo, in achieving the vision and mission of the Symphony.”


Of his new role Kuncl said, “There is no more inspiring calling I can think of than to support what musicians bring to our lives, and the ASO and ASA musicians and educators are among the best.  The chance to work alongside José Luis Novo in his 20th year of ASO artistry is a great opportunity. And I look forward not only to enhancing resources of all kinds for ASO musicians but above all else to sharing together in the vision that the Board and Artistic Director Jose-Luis have for a brilliant future as an anchor institution in the Annapolis/Maryland region.”


Kuncl will commence employment with the ASO on April 1, 2024. Ms. Row said, “We are confident that the transition period will be effortless for our partners, donors, and patrons. We look forward to continuing to serve our mission to inspire, educate, and enrich lives near and far by creating extraordinary musical experiences with uncompromising artistic excellence.”


Kuncl added, “The entire administrative staff and board members are terrific stewards of the ASO’s 62-year legacy as the largest performing arts institution in the city of Annapolis. I look forward to working with colleagues in other partner organizations as we work to bring the arts into underserved communities.”


Thank you to Interim Executive Director, Barbara Randolph

Even as the ASO welcomes Dr. Kuncl, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, staff and musicians  would like to express our immense gratitude for Barbara Randolph, who has served as Interim Executive Director of the ASO since November 2022. Barbara has been an important asset to the organization, beginning with her spearheading the orchestra’s successful tour of Spain in June 2022. In the seventeen months of her tenure, Ms. Randolph solidified and fortified the ASO’s mission to bring more music, to more people, in more places.

Novo worked closely with Ms. Randolph, and offers his thanks for her dedication to the ASO: “I have only words of gratitude and admiration for Barbara and her work with the ASO during these past months. She is someone who brought such a high level of professionalism, dedication and integrity that was truly inspirational. Leading with clear vision and gentle words, she has seized the respect and conquered the hearts of every member and supporter of our organization. It has been a true pleasure to work at Barbara’s side on behalf of the ASO, and I sincerely hope that the special bonding we fostered will keep us connected for a long time.“

Ms. Randolph leaves the ASO in a strong position for continued service to the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County community. “We deeply appreciate the dedication and enthusiasm with which Ms. Randolph approached her role as the interim Executive Director. Barbara is a class act who brought out the best of those around her. We will miss her. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we wish Barbara all the best in the future and we look forward to welcoming her to an ASO concert anytime she wants. She will always be part of the ASO family,” said Row.

McKiel, who hired Barbara, said: “Barbara’s contributions to the ASO are legion and extraordinary.  She brought organization, forethought and clarity to the financial strategies of the Symphony. Her unparalleled efforts put ASO at the top of its orchestral class for artistic growth and community outreach. Barbara also brought together and managed a first-class staff that runs operations smoother and more efficiently than ever before. And perhaps most importantly, her generous quick smile and professionalism has made her a welcome favorite of subscribers, donors and musicians. She is the hallmark of an excellent interim executive director.”

About the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

The mission of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, educate, and enrich lives near and far by creating extraordinary musical experiences with uncompromising artistic excellence. As we celebrate our 62nd year in Annapolis, we are more intent than ever on bringing More Music, To More Places, For More People.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra offers subscription packages, both for in-person and virtual viewing, as well as tickets for single in-person programs. For more information or to purchase tickets or subscriptions, visit AnnapolisSymphony.org or contact the box office at 410-263-0907.

Media Contact: Diana Love, Director of Marketing and Communications, DLove@annapolissymphony.org – 410-267-3631