Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Announces Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Position to be Endowed by Michael Cioffi and
Rachael Rowe and Named in Honor of
Judge Nathaniel R. Jones
CINCINNATI, OH (January 13, 2022)—The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announced today that board member Michael L. Cioffi and his wife, Rachael A. Rowe, have made a major gift to endow and name in perpetuity the Orchestra’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer (CDIO) position. Per the wishes of Cioffi and Rowe, the position will be named in honor of Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, a pioneering civil rights leader, lawyer, and federal judge who dedicated his life to eradicating the injustice of racial discrimination. While 59 of the Orchestra’s musician chairs are endowed, this gift marks the first endowed administrative position for the CSO.
“Just over a year ago, we announced a plan to guide the CSO’s work to more diligently address the racial and gender inequities in classical music, and to ensure that we are serving the needs of our entire community. One cornerstone of that plan was the addition of a new executive leadership position, the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, to catalyze, guide, and implement our DE&I initiatives and practices organization-wide,” said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. “In March 2021, we were pleased to welcome Harold Brown as our first CDIO, and we are seeing tangible results of the work of Harold and his team. We are profoundly grateful to Michael Cioffi and Rachael Rowe for their longstanding belief in and support for this work.”
In recognition of the long-term impacts of the endowment, the CDIO position will be named in honor of Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, whose efforts to abolish racial discrimination included challenging school segregation, ending racial bias in the military, and combating injustice everywhere. Following Judge Jones’ departure from the federal bench, Cioffi recruited him to the law firm of Blank Rome, where the two of them collaborated and practiced together for over 20 years until the Judge’s passing in 2020. The renamed CDIO position will honor the historic legacy of Judge Jones and his activism while signifying CSO’s ongoing commitment to creating equitable spaces within the orchestra field.
“Classical music must address racial and gender disparities in order to stay culturally relevant and reach new creative heights because talent and genius are colorblind. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has taken great strides to ensure that the organization increasingly reflects the diverse communities it serves, and Rachael and I are proud to support the CSO’s inspiring and ambitious mission to make classical music richer, more inclusive and accessible for all,” said Michael L. Cioffi. “I am particularly honored to name the position of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer after Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, who is a civil rights icon and was my dear, close friend and law partner for more than 20 years. I am hopeful that the orchestra will embody his lifelong work towards a just and equal society.”
“It is exciting to work with an institution like the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra that not only advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion but also actively champions the cause,” said Rachael A. Rowe.
“Michael and I are incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to help make a real difference within the CSO. We’re confident the Orchestra’s dedication to recruiting, engaging, and sustaining an inclusive community of talent and audiences will usher in a new generation of classical music lovers.”
“The CSO is one of the first performing arts organizations in the nation to take this step, and I am thrilled to be chosen to serve in this new role,” said Harold Brown. “Jonathan, the Board, staff, and community partners have already demonstrated their commitment to DE&I. Together we will continue to build a more diverse and inclusive internal culture as well as work to ensure that all members of the community find the CSO to be among the most relevant, welcoming, and accessible anchor institutions in our community.”
About Michael Cioffi
Michael L. Cioffi is a partner of Blank Rome, an international law firm with 14 offices and over 600 attorneys and principals who provide legal services in the United States and around the world. He leads the firm’s Cincinnati office, advising small businesses and Fortune 500 companies in commercial and corporate litigation, government contracts, construction and environmental issues, and insurance and employment law. Michael also has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law for over thirty-five years, teaching courses in Evidence, Trial Practice and Law, Literature and Philosophy. Outside of his professional career, Michael is a lifelong supporter of the arts guided by the belief that beauty and the arts are essential to human enrichment, that they give us the wisdom and insight to be the best version of ourselves. His commitment to fostering inclusive and empowering arts communities led him to serve on the board of the Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and to establish Monteverdi Tuscany, a boutique hotel and creative hub in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia region for lovers of beauty, art, history and Italian culture.
About Rachael A. Rowe
Rachael Rowe is a partner at Keating, Muething & Klekamp, PLL, a Cincinnati-based law firm. She leads the firm’s Mass Tort Settlement Trust Practice Group, which provides comprehensive legal services to settlement trusts created to compensate victims of mass torts. Rachael is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of life, and is particularly proud to join her husband Michael in making this gift to the CSO.
About Harold Brown
Harold Brown is the first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), a new role created to catalyze, guide and implement DE&I initiatives and practices across the organization. Previously, he served as Vice President, Strategy & Policy at Interact for Health and Vice President of Community Strategies at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). For 16+ years prior to joining GCF, Harold Brown served in a variety of leadership roles at KnowledgeWorks, which involved creating opportunities for investment and partnerships to dramatically improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth in cities across the nation. An Oxford, Ohio native and graduate of Harvard University, Harold began his career as a Senior Researcher at WGBH Boston. Upon returning to Ohio, Harold directed Multicultural Enrollment Services at Miami University, where he led the University’s successful efforts to dramatically increase minority student enrollment and retention. A strong believer in the importance of community service, Harold serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Cradle 2 Career Cincinnati, Mt. St. Joseph University, GreenLight Cincinnati, School Board Schools, and AchievePoint Career Academy. Harold resides in Springdale with his wife, Gwen, and their son Christopher, a cellist and freshman at The Ohio State University. Harold and Gwen are long-time Arts supporters, including ArtsWave and the CSO.