Jessica Satava

Jessica Satava

After a year-long, nationwide search, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra has named its new executive director.

Jessica Satava will take over the position Aug. 1. She will replace interim executive director Patricia Hofscher, who plans to retire.

Clyde Thomas, president of the JSO board of trustees, said Satava was chosen unanimously by the search committee.

“Throughout the multi-stage search process, she stood out not only for her abundant experience in the field and direct working relationships with some of the most renowned professionals, but because of the admiration and respect shown by all of those who recommended her and who have worked with her,” he said. “We are thrilled to welcome Jessica to Johnstown and look forward to a long and highly productive relationship for the benefit of the entire community.”

Satava, who currently resides in Baltimore, is coming to the JSO from her most recent role as concert operations supervisor at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where in 2016, she was appointed to produce the largest performance event in Peabody’s 161-year history. 

In 2018, Satava served as manager of the Aspen Chamber Symphony at the Aspen Music Festival and School, working with international soloists, conductors and principal musicians from top orchestras across the United States and Europe.

She holds a master’s degree in voice from the Peabody Institute, a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Bethel University and she earned a certificate in management development from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business.

Satava said this is the opportunity that she’s been looking for as the next step in her career.

“I am delighted about the chance to come to Johnstown; the orchestra is fabulous and I’m so excited to partner with James (Blachly), who has such a rich vision for this orchestra and has so much support from the community,” Satava said. 

“We’re in a great place to move forward together, and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Satava said she wants to build on the orchestra’s strong position in the region as a leader in classical music, arts education, community engagement and economic growth.

“My first goal is to support this upcoming season and it’s perfect because the whole thing is planned around the cultural diversity of the Johns-

town community, so it’s going to offer me an opportunity to get to know Johnstown and its rich heritage,” she said. “I want to meet people and understand the community, and I want to hear what people hope for from the orchestra and what we can bring to this community.”

Satava said she loves the history of the JSO, that it began when steel works got together on their one day off to play together.

“That tells me that this is a community with a strong commitment to the arts and a community that understands that music is a force for healing and bringing people together,” she said. “This is a town that’s been through a lot but the community is dedicated to rising above and I think it’s so significant that the orchestra has been there throughout.”

Maestro James Blachly said within the field of professional orchestras there are a select few who have the potential to become executive directors of the highest caliber.

“I believe that the JSO has hired someone who is able to not only have a significant impact on this community and help to lead our orchestra into a new era, but that she will prove to be one of the great executive directors of her generation,” he said. “I am thrilled for us to work together over the coming years as we continue the great tradition of this orchestra, bringing great orchestral music to this city and region.”

Satava will be introduced to the community at the symphony’s free 4th of July concert that will be held at 7:30 p.m. July 4 at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point in downtown Johnstown.


Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.