Denise Rehg, Executive Director of The Columbus Symphony


The Columbus Symphony appointed Denise Rehg as executive director in October 2017. During her first year as executive director, Ms. Rehg negotiated an Administrative Services Agreement between CAPA and the Columbus Symphony. Denise was also able to negotiate a lease agreement with CBRE to secure office space in the Capitol Square Building for the Symphony administration, located at 65 E. State Street. Staff members moved to the new location in December 2018, bringing high visibility and a powerful presence to the orchestra. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians Local 103, American Federation of Musicians, and the Columbus Symphony Board of Trustees was negotiated and completed in August 2018 under her leadership. Denise was able to secure and offer a health care plan to the musicians for the first time in many years. In both FY18 and FY19, Denise was able to close the books for the fiscal year without a deficit so that reserves were not needed to cover budget shortfalls.

Denise has a long history of fundraising and arts management. Prior to her appointment with the Columbus Symphony, she served as Vice President of Development at CAPA where she over saw fundraising efforts for the CAPA and its affiliated organizations, which include CATCO, Columbus Symphony, Friends of the Drexel Theatre, Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, Lincoln Theater Association, and Opera Columbus.

Denise served as the President and CEO of Culture Works, the arts fund and arts service providers for the greater Dayton region for six years before relocation to Columbus to serve as the Senior AVP for leadership and major gifts at the United Way of Central Ohio. Prior experience also includes various roles with the Victoria Theater Association and Dayton Opera.

She has served on several boards, including the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Citizens for the Arts, American Humanics, and Dayton Create. Honors and awards for her work in the arts include being honored as one of Columbus Business First's Most Admired Executives in Central Ohio in 2021, Executive of the Year 2006 (Leadership Ohio), Woman of Influence (Dayton YWCA), and US representative to Chile to speak on the subject of arts management (2010). She has consulted with many arts organizations on a wide range of topics including strategic planning, board development, volunteer management, and fundraising. She is an alumna from Wright State University.

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