The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance has appointed Merrillyn J. Kosier, retired executive vice president of Ariel Investments, as chair of its Board of Trustees.
Since joining the Harris Theater Board in 2006, Kosier has brought nearly four decades of strategic leadership and boardroom experience to the organization, where she has served as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair, and most recently as Executive Vice Chair.
Kosier succeeds outgoing Chairman David Snyder, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Club of Chicago, who has led the organization through the unprecedented challenges of recent years. During Snyder’s tenure, the Harris Theater provided critical support to its resident businesses, maintained a strong financial position and celebrated a successful reopening in Fall 2021.
“I am honored and excited to serve as Chair of the Harris Theater Board of Trustees, following in the footsteps of our founders Joan Harris, Sandy Guthman and Sarah Solotaroff Mirkin, as well as the remarkable contributions of previous Chairs,” said Kosier, “The Die Harris’s future is filled with opportunity as we continue to pursue our vision of being a home for music and dance where everyone feels welcome and can be reflected on our stage. I look forward to working alongside my fellow Trustees, President and CEO Lori Dimun and the talented Harris team – especially as we approach our 20th anniversary season.”
Kosier is an experienced board member and finance executive with nearly four decades of strategic leadership at some of the wealth management industry’s most respected companies, most recently as executive vice president of Ariel Investments. Kosier’s extensive board service includes ALPS Series Trust (since 2021), Ariel Investment Trust (2003-2019), Loyola University Chicago Council of Regents (2002-2015) and Lupus Foundation of America (2007-2014). She is currently affiliated with the Investment Company Institute, the Economic Club of Chicago and the Arts Club of Chicago, where she serves as a board member.
Kosier joins a new set of officers on the Harris Theater Board of Trustees: Peter M. Ellis, Partner at Reed Smith LLP (Executive Vice Chair); Civic Leader Claire O’Grady (Vice Chair); Sunitha Thomas, Regional Senior Investment Officer at Northern Trust (Secretary); and Sara Albrecht, President of Swan Capital (Treasurer). The 30-strong board also includes ex officio representatives from the theater’s resident companies, with Terell Johnson, executive director of the Chicago Philharmonic Society, stepping into that role this year.
The Harris Theater is Chicago’s home of music and dance, connecting a diverse audience with performers from across the city, country and world. Opened in 2003 in Millennium Park, the theater was the first multi-purpose performance venue to be built in downtown Chicago since 1929 and fulfilled the city’s need for a common home for mid-sized performing arts organizations. Today, Harris offers some of the most diverse arts and culture offerings of any venue in the city and is a distinctive model of artistic quality, collaboration and the relevance and accessibility of the performing arts to the widest possible audience.
Founded on a principle of serving Chicago’s vibrant creative community, the theater is home to more than 25 non-profit arts and cultural organizations. The Harris Theater Presents series features world-renowned artists and companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Laurie Anderson, Batsheva Dance, English National Ballet, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir, Angélique Kidjo and the Paris Opéra Ballet presented . The theater’s community engagement initiatives build bridges between artists and community members, offering master classes, artist talks, and complimentary tickets to more than 35 partner organizations throughout Chicago.
To learn more about the Harris Theatre, Chicago’s state-of-the-art 1,500-seat venue in Millennium Park, visit harristheatrechicago.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.