Lyric Opera of Chicago

Susan Mathieson Mayer to leave Lyric

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Susan Mathieson Mayer to leave Lyric Opera of Chicago at the end of 2013;  
Director of Marketing and Communications since 1988 

Susan Mathieson Mayer, director of Lyric’s marketing and communications department for the past twenty-five years, has chosen to leave her current position at the end of 2013, Lyric's general director Anthony Freud announced today.

Mathieson Mayer will work as an independent marketing and communications consultant for a variety of organizations. She will retain an association with Lyric, consulting on media-related and marketing projects.

"It is an honor to work for this great company,” Mathieson Mayer said. “However, I now want flexibility in my professional career so that I can spend more time with my husband, Friedrich Mayer, who is retired.”

Freud said that the appointment process to recruit Mathieson Mayer’s successor is well underway with an announcement expected within the next several weeks.

“Susan has earned an international reputation for arts marketing and is widely acknowledged as one of the leading practitioners in the field today,” Freud said. “She has made a major contribution to the company during her tenure, and will be greatly missed by her colleagues, Lyric’s Board of Directors, and the artists.  Just as Susan had big shoes to fill when she succeeded the legendary Danny Newman, so too will Susan’s successor.”

Mathieson Mayer joined Lyric in 1988 and has the distinction of completely selling out the season for sixteen consecutive seasons (1989/90 through 2004/2005) – a record unequaled in the performing arts field. With its 25,000 season ticket holders, Lyric remains a leader in subscription sales and audience development. Because of Lyric's expanded programming and effective marketing, Lyric just announced a 15% increase in attendance for its 2012/13 season over the previous season.

Mathieson Mayer has spearheaded a wide variety of audience-building initiatives for Lyric, as well as numerous high-profile branding projects for the company, including the 2011 advertising campaign "Long Live Passion,” which featured Lyric's creative consultant and superstar soprano Renée Fleming; the naming of the Lyric Opera Bridge; and a series of Lyric Operathon fundraising posters that featured celebrities ranging from Michael Jordan to Bono.

In 2000, Mathieson Mayer was named one of the country’s Top 100 Marketers by Advertising Age – the only professional in the arts to be nominated.

Prior to joining Lyric, Mathieson Mayer headed her own arts marketing firm.  She was also director of marketing for the arts festival of the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver, where she sold out 102 of the 106 events. While at the Vancouver Symphony in the 1980s, she built the subscription base to 42,000 – at the time, the largest orchestra subscription audience in the world.