Chris Merkle, Director of Artistic Operations
Chris Merkle is an experienced arts administrator, organizer, and musician, currently acting as Director of Artistic Operations for the Savannah Philharmonic in Savannah, GA. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Chris attended Gettysburg College where he received a magna cum laude B.A. in Music and German. There he was recognized for his abilities as a bassoonist, vocalist, and conductor. He also spent the Spring of 2010 in Vienna, Austria, where he studied Viennese music and culture.
After a year as Operations and Personnel Manager for the regional Williamsport Symphony Orchestra in Williamsport, PA, Chris relocated to Washington, DC to begin Master’s coursework in Arts Management at American University, one of the oldest and most renowned programs of its kind in the country. After completing coursework and presenting a thesis focusing on modern orchestra business models, he graduated with honors in December 2014. During this time, he also held several positions including as Operations Coordinator with the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and on the board of the CREATE Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD.
In the Summer of 2015, Chris acted as Manager of Orchestral Operations at the Aspen Music Festival, one of the most lauded classical music festivals for students, featuring faculty from some of the world’s top orchestras. At the conclusion of the season, Chris relocated to Savannah, GA to take his current position with the Savannah Philharmonic. Chris continues to pursue studies in nonprofit business and acts privately as an artistic administrator and business consultant.