Mike Ross became the sixth director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 1997. He came to the Center from the Miller Theatre at Columbia University in New York City, where he received his doctorate with distinction in music composition and where, under his direction, the Miller Theatre was recognized by The New Yorker as “the city’s hottest hotbed of innovative programming.”Deeply committed to embracing the art of the past as well as the art of our time across disciplines, aesthetic sensibilities, and cultural legacies, Mike views Krannert Center as a potent blending of classroom, laboratory, and public square. He attributes his experience as a professional classical, jazz, and rock musician and his interest in the visual and environmental arts, broader cultural history, and explorations into the nature of creativity writ large as major influences on his collaborative approach to arts administration.
He has served as board chair for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and as board president of Arts Alliance Illinois and is a founding member of 40 North, the Champaign County Arts Council. He is a recipient of the North American Performing Arts Agent and Managers Association’s Award for Excellence in Presenting the Arts and was selected by National Arts Strategies to participate alongside 100 national and international cultural leaders in its inaugural Chief Executive Leadership Initiative.
Mike is an associate dean in the College of Fine + Applied Arts, has served on numerous campus committees, and chaired the cross-campus Seedbed Initiative for Transdomain Creativity, which led to the establishment of the eDREAM Institute (Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media), for which he now serves as an advisor.
Mike is a passionate advocate for the micro-urban Champaign-Urbana community and is co-chair of the 2013 Champaign County United Way Campaign.