When Harvey Malloy stepped down this past October, after almost 10 years as SFEMS Executive Director, he had both helped the Society meet and overcome major challenges and done a tremendous amount to modernize it, put it on sounder footing, and give it an ever more significant role, both in the regional arts community and in the larger world of early music.
“He has always been an outstanding representative of SFEMS to our audiences and the community,” said President Joyce Johnson Hamilton.
“Through a balance of passion for early music and clear business realization, Harvey has been the great enabler and caretaker of SFEMS’s mission throughout his tenure, paving the way for SFEMS to become a leading presenter of early music in the Bay Area,” said SFEMS administrator and acting Executive Director Jessica House Steward.
Harvey had a major impact on all our programs. During his tenure, SFEMS established the world’s first (and still unique) Classical Music Workshop and added a second week to our Recorder Workshop. He also developed the concert series through innovative co-presentations with other organizations and the addition of special performances by international artists, including the “Breathtaking!” concerts by Bruce Dickey and Hana Blažíková last season, the 2016 appearance of Stile Antico, and this season’s upcoming performances by the Choir of New College Oxford, Iestyn Davis and Thomas Dunford, and the Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Festival.
Harvey deserves major credit for helping rescue the Berkeley Festival, having SFEMS assume full responsibility for its curation in 2010 after incoming Cal Performances Director Matías Tarnopolsky announced Cal’s intent to discontinue support and participation. Under Harvey’s guidance, SFEMS now has produced 5 Festivals, each larger and more ambitious. Here again, his skills at negotiating collaborations and co-presentations with other organizations—a skill he shared with BFX Artistic Director Robert Cole—have been a great asset.
Harvey also had a major impact on our communications infrastructure and public image. He oversaw a complete redesign of the SFEMS website, which also greatly enhanced its capabilities. He made our newsletter and calendar fully web-based publications and designed the templates and formats we still use for them. His work made possible online ticket purchasing and other web transactions. He made similar contributions to all our publications, print as well as digital, and with a good, artistic eye and clear vision of what he wanted, he helped give them a more professional look.
“Harvey was interested in modernizing our brand and giving SFEMS a more professional look,” says SFEMS graphic designer and production editor Kathy Clement. Our print materials and online presence were revitalized in a major way under his directorship.”
Harvey was a hands-on manager, interested in all aspects of the organization and constantly helping his staff, musicians, and others in countless ways. At a reception for his retirement earlier this month, former SFEMS President and BFX Artistic Director emeritus Robert Cole singled out Harvey’s enjoyment of and capacity for work as the characteristics he most admired and appreciated. “I could call him any time of the day or night,” said self-professed workaholic Cole, “and he’d be working away.”
Harvey taught himself most of the computer programs we use and was able to tutor others, so that over a short period, his staff learned to navigate and do productive work on the new systems. “Harvey walked me through WordPress, helped me set up my email, and could trouble-shoot any problem I had,” said SFEMS publications editor and self-professed Luddite Jonathan Harris.
“On numerous occasions, he demonstrated an enviable ability to keep track of the myriad of details and concerns in administering SFEMS’ affairs, even from another continent!” recalls SFEMS Vice President Gloria Eive. “When the Patron Services and Box Office Managers unexpectedly resigned a few years ago, at the beginning of SFEMS’ concert season, Harvey was far away on the other side of the world as I abruptly acquired both desks as ad hoc ‘Manager.’ Advising and directing from his distant hotel in our daily correspondence, we managed to quickly sort out and administer the morass of details and incomplete ticket sales I had inherited and attending to begin reviewing the many applications we were receiving in answer to our Search ads.”
SFEMS staff were unanimous in expressing appreciation for his leadership, mentorship, assistance, and friendship. Harvey genuinely enjoys working with people, and despite his hands-on style, he has trusted his staff to work independently and always has listened to and valued their creative work and ideas.
“Harvey has been a great partner to me as a designer,” said Kathy Clement. “He never gave specific direction about a design but provided valuable feedback to help me hone the piece. His thoughts always helped us get to a better final.”
Jessica House Steward described him as “an understated leader, always downplaying his role in the successes of the organization and preferring to let others take credit for shared efforts.”
The other thing everyone noted was just how much fun it was to work with and interact with Harvey.
“Planning seasons and festivals from my garage in Burlingame on speakerphone with Harvey was both fun and exhausting,” says Patron Services Manager Craig Hanson. “Our conversations were always interesting and wide-ranging, and he was always happy to talk about our children/grandchildren, and commiserate about aging!”
Jonathan Harris echoes that. “Harvey is a great schmoozer as well as a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction, a lover of food, wine, and art, and an all-purpose devourer of culture. We share a love of Spain, where my wife is from and where he and Sonia frequently travel, so our conversations always are broad and stimulating. He turned me on to lot of good books, music, and some great places to visit.”
Kathy Clement praised his largesse as a lunch or dinner companion. “I tend to stay at home a lot and he would often coax me out for a meal,” she said. “I appreciated that very much.”
“He has been a great wine sommelier at receptions,” said Joyce Hamilton.
“Harvey’s tenure has been transformational for SFEMS,” she added on a more serious note. “Everyone will miss him.”