Joanne Hubbard Cossa Trustee Emerita
Joanne Hubbard Cossa had a 40-year career in arts administration. At her retirement, she was President and CEO of the American Music Center. During her seven-year tenure there, she commissioned Taking Note: A Study of Composers and New Music Activity in the United States; AMC hosted the annual meeting of the International Association of Music Information Centers; the organization’s endowment increased by more than five million dollars; Counterstream Radio was founded; and she instigated and shepherded (to coincide with her retirement) the merger of the American Music Center with Meet the Composer to form New Music USA.
From 1988 to 2003, she was Managing Director and later Executive Vice President of Symphony Space, a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization in Manhattan. To its renowned literature and music marathon programs, she added repertory film, dance and children’s fare, and oversaw the renovation and transformation of the old movie theatre into a two-auditorium arts center. And with Artistic Director Isaiah Sheffer, she produced the 12-hour live and radio broadcast WALL TO WALL KURT WEILL.
She worked for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 1973 to 1988, beginning as its Music Librarian (and page-turner), advancing to Development Director and becoming Executive Director at the end of 1981. In her Chamber Music Society years, CMS released numerous recordings, toured nationally and internationally, commissioned some forty works and quadrupled its endowment.
She grew up in upstate New York and studied drama and music at Syracuse University. In 1971, after a brief stint as an (unpaid) actress and singer (while waitressing), she began her career in arts administration by mailing subscription tickets for New York City Opera and New York City Ballet. She has been a member of the New Amsterdam Singers for more than thirty years, switch-hitting second soprano and first alto. In retirement, she concentrates on the well-being of that chorus and of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and is writing a historical novel. She has travelled in 36 countries but only 27 of the United States. When not otherwise occupied, she reads fiction, history and poetry with a cat on her lap.