Sal Parillo, M.A. Arts and Cultural Management 2018, recently started a new job as the Operations Manager of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary Season in 2020-2021.
As the Operations Manager, Parillo is responsible for overseeing the Virginia Symphony’s production crew, coordinating guest artists’ travel and housing, making sure venues are scheduled, and distributing the annual performance calendar every month.
“I love what I do at the Virginia Symphony,” Parillo said. “The senior staff I work with is very uplifting and I get along really well with everyone.”
Prior to joining the Virginia Symphony, Parillo served as the Education Operations Manager for the Lansing Symphony Orchestra in which he worked on programming events for children.
There’s nothing more rewarding than programming a series for a department and then watching the children performing and seeing their happiness.
“That position gave me a great foundation in artistic programming,” Parillo said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than programming a series for a department and then watching the children performing and seeing their happiness. It’s those moments where you see the twinkle in their eye that you don’t usually see because something new has come into their lives.”
Parillo first started working for the Lansing Symphony Orchestra as a Marketing and Communications Intern while he was enrolled in Michigan State University’s Arts and Cultural Management master’s program. During this internship, he gained valuable experience working on various promotional assets for the symphony and later becoming a manager for the symphony’s education department and ticket database system.
That internship has made a lasting impact on Parillo’s career. When it ended, he maintained his involvement with the Lansing Symphony for two years – one as the Education Operations Assistant and then becoming the Education and Operations Manager.
In November 2019, Parillo left the Lansing Symphony to accept the position with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
“I was really sad leaving my educational responsibilities at the Lansing Symphony, but I absolutely love what I do at the Virginia Symphony,” Parillo said. “I’m now able to do a lot more of the operational tasks that I rarely was able to do at the Lansing Symphony since their organization is much smaller.”
Parillo first enrolled in MSU’s Arts and Cultural Management M.A. program in 2016, right after he earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Throughout his time at MSU and UCF, Parillo worked as the Director of Private Lessons and Faculty Coordinator of the Philadelphia International Music Festival, where he scheduled performances, student lessons, master classes, and faculty recitals for six seasons. He plans to maintain this role as long as possible.
Long-term, I want to be a senior staff member at a symphony, which means being a director or a vice president. I see myself building or growing a program or department.
“Every summer I go to visit my family in upstate New York, where the Philadelphia Orchestra has a summer residency in Saratoga,” Parillo said. “One year I saw them perform and that performance opened my eyes. That’s why I changed my major to music and decided that the arts do need to be in my life. It’s hard to start off in the arts, but the return is way worth it.”
Although Parillo has many experiences in the arts, he wants to continue expanding his skills in the educational and operational fields.
“Long-term, I want to be a senior staff member at a symphony, which means being a director or a vice president,” Parillo said. “I see myself building or growing a program or department, and the Lansing Symphony is my greatest example, because by the time I left, they were offering more educational performances.”
Written by Annie Dubois