Talia  Young
CEO |Newark Symphony Hall

Talia Young is the right person at the right time to take Newark Symphony Hall into its new era.

The 98-year-old city-owned New Jersey landmark that has hosted a who’s who of live music over the decades is transitioning into a Black-run center of arts, culture and production training amid $50 million in renovations.

A Hofstra grad and Teaneck, New Jersey, native with a background in finance and community development, Young was senior vice president for Black-owned City National Bank of New Jersey and has been CEO of Newark Performing Arts Corporation, the non-profit organization that runs the venue, for nine months.

She had been on the NPAC board, which had a loan with City National that she oversaw, for five years. After leaving the bank to run her own event logistics company, she stepped into the CEO role on an interim basis when her predecessor departed for another opportunity.
Young says she knew after just a few days that she was a good fit for the job and she’s since been made permanent, bringing fresh eyes to a long-standing facility.

“If you’re into community development, it’s exciting because you’re looking at not just what we do in all four corners of (NSH); it’s going to totally change the economic impact and the quality of life factors for the people and the residents and the businesses right next to us,” she said.

Young won’t take all the credit, but her impact has been clear. In the last 10 months, NSH has tripled its programming. But the journey is still at its outset and pushing for greater investment is a huge part of her job.

“What I communicate, especially to institutions and to my nonprofit funders, is that yes, there is a boatload and very exciting energy around state capital and government funding, but we have to invest,” Young said. “We have to ensure that our human capital that is 90% local, 95% Black and brown are invested into. We are advocating and securing arts education and access to education. We have to make sure there’s advancements, and there’s investment into them as individuals. That’s like a whole other level of advocacy that we have to talk about, and I continue to bring up in those conversations.

“Some people say go for it, and some people, say can you pull it back. I have no problem very unapologetically advocating because we are Black, and this is what we deserve and I don’t think anything’s wrong with it.” — James Zoltak

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