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Bill Lively Talks About Leaving the DSO

by Jerome Weeks 29 Apr 2011 4:49 PM

Both of Bill Lively’s brothers had strokes, and when he began feeling symptoms the past five weeks, Lively decided to step down from the DSO. He talks with Bill Zeeble and Nancy Nasher responds to the news.


In a surprise announcement, Dallas Symphony Orchestra CEO Bill Lively resigned today, effective immediately.  The Symphony hired him to start part-time earlier this month but Lively says health concerns led to his decision. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports.

  • KERA radio report:
  • Expanded online report:

Before his Dallas Symphony appointment, Bill Lively led the Super Bowl Host Committee. Prior to that, he oversaw development, fundraising and operations of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. He helped raise nearly $350 million to build it. But he says stress caught up to him, and stepping down is preventive move.

Bill Lively: “I had a brother,  John, who two and a half years ago at age 56 died of a stroke. He was a Presbyterian minister, lawyer and judge in Oklahoma and he died of a stroke, no warning. My brother Bob was 60 years old and four years ago had a stroke which paralyzed him partially  and forced him into early retirement. He survived but it was nonetheless a life-changing experience. “

Lively says within the past five weeks, he experienced symptoms new to him, including headaches. Given the family history, he decided to follow his doctor’s and wife’s advice, to avoid a stroke.  He’s giving up all professional responsibilities to reduce the pressure. Lively says he and his wife will spend the summer in Colorado, come back here this fall, and figure out his next move. The symphony has not named a replacement.

Nancy Nasher is a DSO executive committee member. She was stunned by the news, she said, and hoped for Lively’s full recovery.

Nancy Nasher: “Bill Lively’s had such an important history in the city of Dallas beginning at SMU where he was a dynamic leader and educator. And then what he did single-handedly leading and shaping and forming the Dallas Arts District was just heroic.”