He expects to apply some of those ideas in his new job and create some new ones, as well. Haydon brings an impressive track record: At Caramoor, he raised more than $40 million, quadrupling the endowment. He also launched various programmatic initiatives, including a collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Haydon grew up in the Bay Area with family who took him to symphonic and jazz performances. He enrolled at Puget Sound on a tuba and voice scholarship, majoring in the Business Leadership Program and minoring in music. On campus, he met student programs director Serni Solidarios, who hired Haydon to chair the student-run cultural events series. Haydon helped bring to campus such artists as Fred Hersch, Cleo Laine, Bela Fleck, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Making quality music performances accessible to the public became Haydon’s passion and, after graduating, he was selected for a yearlong competitive fellowship for executive training of orchestra managers. He later worked for the Aspen Music Festival, did fundraising for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Philharmonic, and was executive director of the Ojai (Calif.) Music Festival for nine years before taking the position at Caramoor.
“There’s nothing about the business that should work on paper,” he says, noting that ticket sales usually cover less than half the operating costs for performing arts organizations. “It’s a creative challenge to figure out how to make the finances and operations work. I love the satisfaction of seeing an artist or audience member months or years later say, ‘That experience still inspires me today.’”