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Photo Credit: Annie Watt

A passionate arts leader, Ahmad Mayes has delivered over 15 years of high impact service to the music field, focusing on strategic planning, organizational development, education, DE&I, and community engagement. With a background that is equal parts administrator, educator, and programmer, and a lengthy track record of collaborating effectively with top-level musical artists he has built a reputation for consistently delivering best in class programming when it comes to growing relevance and value for classical music.

Most recently, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Ahmad oversaw a wide range of field leading programs including Concerts for Young People, school and community partnerships, musician training, and nation-wide DE&I collaborations as Director of Education and Community Engagement. He served previously with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and there launched innovative partnerships including a multi-year collaboration with the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program, which brought American roots music exhibitions and collaborative performances to twelve cities across rural Georgia, receiving the Governor’s Tourism Champion Award. Previous work also includes time as Director of Operations & Artistic Administration for Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and with the Sarasota Orchestra and Music Festival.

Ahmad has contributed to the field through additional leadership roles including as Co-Chair of the Education and Community Engagement Leadership Committee of the League of American Orchestras, volunteer leadership team member for the National Instrumentalist Mentorship and Advancement Network (NIMAN), advisor to the Atlanta Music Project, and adjudicator and advisor for the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards. He has also launched an independent consulting business that has allowed him to help develop community and education centered strategy at organizations across the U.S. As a vocal advocate for music education, community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion he has become a regular contributor, convener, and organizer around these topics at national industry gatherings such as the League of American Orchestras, SphinxConnect, and ICSOM annual conferences. Ahmad has also been a frequent arts grant panelist for projects of the National Endowment of the Arts, the Mellon, Ford, and Angell Foundations, and the New Jersey State Council for the Arts. He is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Music Education and Arts Administration and is an alumnus of the League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders Program.

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