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Jazz St. Louis picks musician Victor Goines as its president and CEO

Victor Goines, an acclaimed musician and educator, will become president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis on Sept. 19.

Goines’ tenure succeeds that of Gene Dobbs Bradford, who led the Grand Center-based organization for 23 years before leaving in December to lead the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia.

Victor Goines smiling sax by Sarah Escarraz.jpg
Sarah Escarraz
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Jazz St. Louis
Victor Goines will continue to perform and record as he leads the Grand Center-based organization.

Celia Hosler has served as the organization’s interim president and CEO while its board searched for a new leader.

Goines plans to begin by assessing the organization’s strengths and hearing what the community would like.

“As a jazz musician, one of our greatest powers is to listen first,” he said. “So I want to listen. I want to hear. I want to learn the city. I want to learn the people. And then from there, we can really begin to put together a very strong strategic plan.”

Goines will relocate from Chicago to St. Louis.

He brings with him stellar credits both onstage and in the classroom. He’s played clarinet with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 1993, under the leadership of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who recommended him for the St. Louis job. Goines also led the Jazz Studies department at Northwestern University for 14 years, after seven years building the Juilliard School’s jazz studies program. He has been an education consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1995.

His public profile will be an asset as he works to draw more people to the venue and to the city, he said.

“I’m hoping that my presence in the world will help bring not only the community of St. Louis closer together as an arts community, but to bring the world to St. Louis so they can actually identify all of the great things the city has to offer,” Goines said. “My relationships with the musicians, I think, are really what's going to be one of the strongest things. That’s a very powerful thing, to understand the musicians involved. Because I’ve traveled their journey. I know what they’ve been through.”

Bradford led Jazz St. Louis through a period of growth, including a $10 million renovation and expansion of the club known as Jazz at the Bistro into the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, complete with education and rehearsal studios and an onstage sound system considered perhaps the finest in St. Louis.

His background as an educator and professional musician puts him in place to grow the organization’s audience and strengthen its education programs, Jazz St. Louis leaders said.

“We are ready for a leader of this stature,” said Bill Higley, chair of the Jazz St. Louis board of directors. “Victor’s stature in the jazz world and his vision will lead us to new and a higher level of achievement and visibility. He'll certainly attract new donors and benefactors and will enable us to effect greater and broader positive changes in the lives of the students in the communities we serve.”

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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