Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival Appoints Smola General Manager | neighborhood supplement
The Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival Board of Directors has appointed Olga Smola as the festival’s new executive director.
Smola joins founder, artistic director and former executive director Erik Higgins as the second full-year festival staff member. His appointment marks a period of growth for the organization in preparation for its third season, scheduled for July 23-31 in Lincoln.
Smola comes to Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival as an established member of the Nebraska arts community since joining the faculty of the University of Nebraska School of Music at Omaha in 2016. A stellar violinist in her own right, she has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at some of Nebraska’s most prominent events including the 2017 Longine FEI World Cup Jumping and Dressage Finals, the 2018 Aksarben Ball and the Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival .
She has directed theater productions including “Morozko” at the Ollie Webb Theater and “Indecent,” co-directed by Hal France, at the Bluebarn Theater, which was honored for “Best Musical Direction” in 2019 by Omaha Entertainment and Arts. Awards.
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Smola already has a deep connection with the Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival. She performed in both the 2019 inaugural season and the 2021 season, and was featured in the “Crossroads Conversations” video interview series which was produced in 2020 by Brian Seifferlein and can be found on the festival YouTube channel.
“We are so lucky to find in Olga a CEO who already understands and embodies the heart of the organization, in addition to having extensive entrepreneurial and management experience,” said Higgins.
Smola added, “I’m honored and thrilled to be able to help build and grow an organization that, from the first moment, felt like my musical home.”
Before moving to Omaha from Russia in 2016, Smola was a sought-after touring artist with regular solo and chamber music engagements in Russia, Europe and the United States. in Moscow with 10 employees and an annual turnover of around $600,000. She was responsible for negotiating contracts, managing employees and overseeing a complex logistics infrastructure for delivering goods to customers across Russia.
Smola joins the festival as the 2022 annual budget of approximately $150,000 reflects a 25% increase from the previous season.
“With more staff time dedicated to fundraising, marketing and production, we can seriously expand the reach and reach of the organization,” Higgins said. “Until now, we had an extraordinary cultural and artistic product that too few people knew about.”
The 2022 festival roster includes internationally renowned Argentinian bandoneonist JP Jofre and singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane. Returning appearances include Silkroad Ensemble member and Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and Lebanese composer and violinist Layale Chaker in addition to many new and familiar local artists and storytellers. The festival builds on the momentum of its first two seasons as it continues to showcase and celebrate Nebraska’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.