Symphony director to resign

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Sandra Self will step down as executive director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

Shizuo Z. Kuwahara, music director of the Augusta Symphony and director,  Sandra Self,  tour the Miller Theater in Augusta.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Shizuo Z. Kuwahara, music director of the Augusta Symphony and director, Sandra Self, tour the Miller Theater in Augusta.

She confirmed to The Augusta Chronicle on Sunday that she announced her resignation Thursday to the orchestra's board of directors. It will be effective July 1, 2012.

"I think it's time to let someone else take it on," Self said. "We've made some great strides and it's really exciting now that (Music Director Shizuo Z Kuwahara) is here."

Self said family reasons factored into her decision to resign the position she has held since 1999.

Formerly, Self served as executive director for the Savannah Symphony Orchestra for two years and the Greater Lansing Symphony in Lansing, Mich., from 1978 to 1996.

Self said she would like to remain a consultant for Symphony Orchestra Augusta, especially on the possible full restoration of the historic Miller Theatre on Broad Street.

"Augusta simply does not have a performing arts center, an appropriate hall where music can be heard, dance can be seen," Self said. "The arts need a downtown focal point."

Self said a successful future for the symphony relies on continuing to reach broad audiences, including a younger demographic.

"We really want to be a key, important part of this community," Self said.

In her time as executive director, Self said the orchestra expanded its outreach to Columbia, Thomson, Waynesboro and other surrounding areas.

Additionally, the orchestra improved its presence in local schools, she said.

"She has really provided excellent leadership from what have been difficult times for orchestras across the nation," said Joe Huff, the president of the symphony's board of directors.

The board of directors will hold a national search for Self's successor, Huff said.

"We need to continue what we've been doing, and that's working hard to remain financially viable and provide the quality of music that we do," he said.

Self said she plans to continue living in the Augusta area with her husband, Lyle.


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