Dennis Hanthorn, General Director
Dennis Hanthorn has more than 30-years of experience in the performing arts industry and a history of building companies in Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Dayton. During his career, total fundraising dollars have reached $75 million. His professional experience includes providing leadership and guiding vision in arts administration; stewarding fundraising, fiscal management, strategic planning, organizational development, and board governance; and providing artistic direction by mounting quality artistic productions with a proven track record in identifying new local, national and international talent.
Dennis has worked in Atlanta for eight years and most recently served as General Director & CEO for The Atlanta Opera, where he is credited with increasing the artistic production quality in all areas and surviving financial challenges before and after the recession. During his tenure, total fundraising reached $35 million-the endowment grew to $6 million, the organization established a working cash reserve, and the company secured a $9.4 million bequest for annual and endowment support. Additionally, he moved all opera performances to the newly constructed Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and increased season ticket sales by 120% in the first two seasons in the new facility. Artistic highlights include a European tour with The Atlanta Opera Chorus performing Porgy and Bess at Opéra-Comique in Paris, Granada, Normandy, and Luxembourg; the CD recording of a full- length opera of Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket; and the Public Radio broadcast of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Entfuhrüng aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).
Prior to joining The Atlanta Opera, Dennis was General Director for 15 years for the Milwaukee Florentine Opera Company and launched the largest and most successful fundraising campaign for expanded artistic and educational programming with a goal of $10 million. Mainstage opera performances averaged an over- all 95% capacity. During his tenure, the company presented the American premiere and the National Public Radio Broadcast of Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray for Milwaukee Public Television, Gioachino Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), and Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne on Naxos), presented Luciano Pavarotti in concert, Jose Carreras in recital, and presented and co- produced opera productions with the Michigan Opera Theatre while managing the Dayton Opera Association.
Dennis has served on the Board of Directors of OPERA America where he served as Secretary of the Board, chaired the membership committee, and consulted for international and national opera companies. He served as an adjudicator for the District and Regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Belvedere International Singing Competition, the MacAllister Awards, and served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan and the Wisconsin Arts Boards.
In higher education, Dennis has completed postgraduate studies in Arts Administration and Music Performance from the University of Cincinnati-CCM; earned a Master of Music, Music Performance in French horn from the University of Wisconsin; and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education K-12 from Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri.
Dennis and his wife, Rebecca, have three grown children. In his spare time, Dennis likes traveling with family, cuisine, reading, professional sports, and listening to classical music.