Staff Profile: J.L. Nave

J.L. Nave

Senior Consultant



What I work on

I work with different arts and cultural clients to help them meet their revenue and growth goals. TRG is a data-driven company, so part of my job is to dig into the data that the organization provides. I then help them to craft strategies, predict financial results, and work with them in ways that enhance their short-term and long-term results. I see myself as a thought partner and a coach to my clients, as well as a kindred spirit. In my background leading arts organizations, I’ve been on the implementing side of a consulting relationship, and so I can connect with our clients in a very genuine way.


How my career has evolved

I started out earning a bachelor’s degree in conducting, and I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I realized that I didn’t want to be stuck in a room studying scores day in and day out but I couldn’t leave the music. I transitioned into a career in arts administration and was accepted into the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program through the League of American Orchestras. From that, I was hired as CEO of the Baton Rouge Symphony. After six years, I was recruited away to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic where I was CEO for nine years.

My career high point

The highpoints of my career have been situations where I’ve been able to affect long-term organizational change, financially or cultural. Baton Rouge Symphony was near bankruptcy when I arrived. To be able to see them through to a very positive financial situation was one of the most rewarding things of my entire career. It’s absolutely amazing what healthy arts organizations can do artistically when they don’t have other challenges that take the focus away from the art.

What I love about the arts

I can’t imagine a world without music, theatre, paintings, dance... Art serves so many different purposes. It’s such a holistic experience that inspires, challenges, entertains, educates. I think about when I was in Baton Rouge during Hurricane Katrina. Our concert venue was being used as a shelter for rescue workers. During that first concert afterward, there were so many new people in a packed house. You could tell that people just needed to hear live music as a community. There was nothing thematic about the program, but it provided an experience where people could escape and feel community as they were re-building. It’s one of the most memorable performances of my career. I’ve been asked “why the arts?” a number of times. I think experiences like that concert make it difficult to put the “why” into words. That feeling was indescribable.

Biography: J.L. Nave

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, J.L. Nave, III joined the TRG team in fall of 2014 as a senior consultant. Prior to TRG, Nave served as president and CEO of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for eight years where he oversaw a rebranding of the organization, instituted marketing programs that have increased classical subscriptions, increased their presence through new and expanded regional partnerships, and has organized two live television broadcasts of The Phil.

Previously, Nave was the president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Symphony, during which the organization experienced a complete reorganization eliminating their $1 million debt, brought regional and national accolades to the organization, saw tremendous growth in ticket and contributed revenues, and enjoyed four consecutive years of positive financial growth. Nave has also worked for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. 
In 2005, Nave was awarded the Helen M. Thompson Award by the American Symphony Orchestra League, which recognizes an up and coming orchestra manager early in their career and who shows promise for affecting change in the orchestra field. He was also named a “Top Forty Under 40” by the Baton Rouge Business Journal in 2005. Nave is a long standing member of the League of American Orchestras and serves as the Alumni Representative for the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program. He currently serves on the board of PBS-39. 
A trained classical musician, Nave holds a Bachelor of Arts in Conducting from Belmont University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and a Master of Business Administration degree from the College of Business at University of Cincinnati. He is an alumnus of the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious Orchestra Management Fellowship Program.

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