Managing Director, Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory
Performing and Visual Arts — Programming
Additional Contact Information
P.O. Box 28 | One Ames Avenue
Chautauqua, N.Y. 14722
Dan Grambow started as managing director for the Chautauqua Opera Company in 2019 for their 90th anniversary season. A gifted collaborator, entrepreneur, and natural leader, Dan has worn many different hats within the creative industries as a producer, director, performer, educator and administrator in corporate and non-profit roles. With over 15 years of experience in the Performing Arts, Dan has broadened the appeal of opera by modernizing productions, honoring local landmarks through creative placemaking, and sharing operatic stories that are relevant to the communities within which they are told. He believes that engaging multi-generational audiences through innovative programming, site-responsive events, and celebrations of shared culture are the keys to making opera a sustainable art form. Some of his proudest original productions have been Don Giovanni retold in Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery, Quantum Mechanic combining molecular gastronomy and chamber opera inside an industrial teaching kitchen, a “Super Mario” Cosi fan tutte and an original composite opera entitled War & Peace written for the centenary of World War I. Dan has performed with Ravinia Music Festival, New World Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Salzburg Festival, Opera in the Ozarks and the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience. He is also the founder of his own non-profit Floating Opera Company, a touring site-specific opera company based in Chicago, Illinois. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he holds a master’s degree in leadership for creative enterprises from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in Music from Cleveland Institute of music, and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. His experiences at Chautauqua Institution have allowed him to collaborate with colleagues across the entire organization including capital improvements projects, safety plans, marketing strategy, public relations, and theme development. Collaboratively, he wrote the latest business plan for the Galleries and Gallery Store of Chautauqua Visual Arts and managed the implementation of a new outdoor Performance Pavilion in 2021. When his colleagues were struggling to navigate Chautauqua’s new digital platforms, he was a resource as we all learned the complexities of live streaming. This led to the execution of the first completely digital opera season, helping the fourth oldest opera company in America pivot and have a season when many companies went dark. Being newer to Chautauqua County, Dan has found time in the off-season to connect with local leaders in the mental health community and was asked to give a “FredTalk” for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene’s annual conference “The Art of Hope and Healing” this past June. He been invited to lecture these past two years at DePaul University and Northwestern University and in 2017 he was on a panel discussing the economics of opera opposite of Anthony Freud (Lyric Opera of Chicago).
Why did you choose to work at Chautauqua? What do you like about working at Chautauqua?
I have always wanted my career to be focused on finding exciting ways to bring the Arts into communities through creativity, innovation and placemaking. Chautauqua is one of the greatest examples of placemaking in America and while it has seen its share of problems, I have found immense joy working on solutions with the Institution and rediscovering the meaning behind our work. When Steve Osgood offered me the role of Managing Director, I was about to accept another leadership position. When he drove through the night to give me a “short tour” of the grounds and pitch Chautauqua to me, I was not only impressed with the organization, but they type of people Chautauqua attracts to work here. It has always been important for me to pick a team to work with and not just a position.
Current and Former Volunteer or Board Roles
- Chicago Opera Underground, Service Role
- Chicago Creative Coalition, Volunteer
- Bridgeport Art Center, Volunteer
- Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, Volunteer
- The Garage, Northwestern University, Mentor/Tinkerer
- Northwestern Alumni Association – Volunteer
- Alumni Associations (Northwestern University, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Miami)
- Opera America Professional Company Member – American Guild of Musical Artists
- Dogs: Raising my two rescues, Dante and Beatrix (named after the Divine Comedy and Kill Bill)
- Snowboarding: Used to be an instructor and now love going out to Holiday Valley Music: Singing, Trumpet, Guitar and Piano. Trying to collect new instruments for my home studio
- Film: Following the trades, seeing new premieres, pop culture commentary (especially for Marvel Movies)
- Gaming – Built my own PC so I could stay connected with my three brothers throughout the pandemic. I love playing Open World Survival Games such as Valheim and MMOs.
- Travel: Planning Road trips with my wife, Samantha. Just drove the 101 from Oregon to San Jose this fall.