Performing Arts: Exit Stage Left

by John Arundel

After an epic 16-year run, Wolf Trap CEO Terrence Jones has announced his retirement.
By John Arundel

CEO and President of Wolf Trap, Terrence Jones. (Photo by Alfredo Flores.)

In what may have been a legendary tenure in the Washington performing arts community, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts President and CEO Terrence D. Jones called it quits. In a brief email to friends, Jones said he was stepping aside for a planned retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2012. Jones has served as Wolf Trap‘s president and CEO since 1996. He had long been credited within the close-knit DC arts community as having positioned the Vienna-based arts center as a premier catalyst for the integration of performing arts, education, technology and community.

“Serving Wolf Trap for the past 16 years has been a distinct honor, a great joy, and is unquestionably the highlight of a long career in the performing arts,” Jones wrote in the email. ”

The Northern Virginia performing arts center had just celebrated 40 years of education through the arts at its 2011 Wolf Trap Ball in September. At the gala, Jones welcomed 1,000 of its fiercest supporters, friends and VIPs who took center stage, raising a record-breaking $1 million.“For more than 40 years, Wolf Trap has brought the stars out to play in the unique setting of the nation’s only National Park for the Performing Arts. Every step of the way our members have been right beside us, attending thousands of performances, volunteering countless hours of their time, and making Wolf Trap a part of their family’s summer traditions.”

Wolf Trap presents 270 performances each year at the Filene Center, a unique partnership with the National Park Service known as “America’s National Park for the Performing Arts.” Jones was also responsible for the oversight of The Barns at Wolf Trap, the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, and a wide variety of education programs, including the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and the Wolf Trap Opera Company.

Jones spent 30 years in theater and the performing arts, but it was in his last role that gave him a larger palate to advance Wolf Trap’s leadership role in the worldwide arts community. He was largely known in theatre circles for his commitment to fostering new works. Since 1996, Jones had commissioned more than 30 new works from such world renowned artists as jazz greats Don Byron and Max Roach, composer Philip Glass, multimedia artist Robert Wilson, and choreographers Elizabeth Streb, Ann Reinking and Donald Byrd.

In 2000, Jones launched the original performance series Face of America. Through commissions of new works from top American choreographers and musicians, the Face of America series celebrated the beauty and cultural diversity of the National Park system, such as Yosemite National Park and the National Parks of Hawaii.

In 2001 Jones began the Kay Shouse Great Performance Series, an annual event honoring Wolf Trap’s founder Catherine Filene Shouse. The debut featured the premiere of Monkey and the Bone Demon, a new work by internationally renowned dance company Pilobolus.

In 2007, Jones created Wolf Trap’s National Council on the Arts and Environment to develop ways in which the arts community can address environmental concerns. He has also been a frequent speaker and consultant on performing arts management issues and was frequently invited to address the National Press Club. He was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine in 2006, and in 2005, he received the Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. He also developed a number of innovative programs, including collaborations with some of the world’s finest artists including Kronos Quartet, Miami City Ballet, Trisha Brown and jazz great Billy Taylor.

“As I look to 2012 and beyond, I know that it is your ongoing demonstration of support for all that Wolf Trap is – the Wolf Trap Experience – that will help ensure this great national treasure continues to flourish, and is preserved for generations to come,” Jones wrote in his email to supporters. “Thank you for your support and friendship.”

Related Articles