New Centrum director hired, was Louisville Orchestra CEO

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Centrum, a nonprofit arts organization located in Fort Worden State Park, has a new executive director.

Robert Birman, the former chief executive officer of the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, is expected to join the Centrum staff on Monday.

He will spend the next week or two learning about the organization from interim director Jim Costello, said Centrum board president Cindy McBride on Tuesday.

Birman replaces John MacElwee, who resigned in November after he was hired in February 2009.

Birman will earn about $100,000 a year, McBride said.

“Birman was selected, after a national search by the Centrum Board of Directors, due to his experience in fundraising and management of performance arts organizations from Boston to San Francisco, Miami Beach to Washington D.C., Boulder to Santa Barbara and Louisville,” McBride said.

McBridge said Birman was chosen out of a field of more than 100 candidates.

Birman said in the prepared statement that he is “thrilled to join the remarkable team at Centrum, and honored by the invitation to serve as its new executive director.

“My wife and I have family in Port Townsend and Port Ludlow and we've always been impressed with the quality and diversity of Centrum's programs and the leadership of their staff and board,” he added.

“I look forward to joining the community and building upon Centrum's impressive legacy.”

MacElwee left the position to resume his private business as a consultant to arts agencies.

Costello, who was involved in the production of the Monterey (Calif.) Jazz Festival for many years and had served on the Centrum board, declined any compensation for the term of his service as interim director.

Centrum is celebrating its 40th year this summer.

“He will be great for Centrum,” McBride said of Birman.

“We are moving onward and upward.”

For more information about Centrum, see

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: February 19. 2013 6:39PM
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