Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional: Jan Hundley

December 5, 2023 | By John Fleming

Chair of the Board
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Jan Hundley looks back on 2023 as a very good year. “We’ve been on a roll,” says the five-year chairman of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra board. “We have survived the pandemic, we hired a music director, and we’re building a new headquarters building.”

In June, the ASO announced that its new music director was Geoffrey Robson, who had been serving as interim artistic director. He signed a five-year contract to lead the Little Rock-based orchestra, which is in its 58th season, and succeeds Phillip Mann, who stepped down in 2018. Board, management, and musicians were open to bringing in a music director from outside the orchestra and community, and a national search yielded four other finalists. In the end, they went with a familiar figure on the podium.

“Geoff has been our associate music director for many years, he conducted our youth orchestra, and is a Little Rock resident,” Hundley says. “He’s part of the community and knows the other arts organizations. He was involved in planning our new building.”

In August, the ASO broke ground on the Stella Boyle Smith Music Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility in Little Rock’s East Village, adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. The orchestra will continue to give concerts at the 2,222-seat Robinson Center, but the new building promises to be a significant community asset. Projected to open in September 2024, it will include offices, rehearsal and practice spaces, a broadcast and recording studio, and music classrooms.

Hundley led the recent five-year capital campaign that raised $11.7 million to cover the cost of the center. She also steered the ASO, which has a $4 million budget, through the pandemic. “We didn’t lay anyone off, not full-time musicians, not staff,” she says. “Our donors really stepped up, and then we ultimately received government funding, but we didn’t know we were going to get that at the time we were making those decisions.”




Law and Disorder by GG Arts Law

Career Advice by Legendary Manager Edna Landau

An American in Paris by Frank Cadenhead



Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.