Welcoming Jonathan Solari


NEW ORLEANS, LA (April 13, 2023) – The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is pleased to welcome Jonathan Solari as the Foundation’s new Director of Development. Jonathan Solari’s long career in the arts combines ambitious philanthropic endeavors with a love for strengthening communities through the exchange of ideas and artistic expression.

“It’s rare to find an organization that knows in order to truly support the arts, you need to support artists,” said Jonathan Solari, Director of Development for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, “I’m extremely fortunate to be in the good company of colleagues, board members, and donors who are committed to enriching culture by enriching lives.”

Most recently, Jonathan led Madison Ballet as CEO. There, he built the strongest financial footing in the organization’s 40 year history in spite of obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among his accomplishments was tripling fundraising income across all sources and leading an initiative with the US Department of State and US Department of Defense to bring dance to Afghan families awaiting relocation in 2021.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jonathan Solari as the new Director of Development for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation,” said Don Marshall, Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, “His deep passion for preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Louisiana, combined with his extensive experience in fundraising and community engagement across the country and internationally, make him a perfect fit for our organization. We look forward to working with Jonathan as we continue to celebrate the unique music, art, and culture of our beloved state and empower the communities we serve through the Jazz & Heritage Foundation.”

At 27, Jonathan founded New Brooklyn Theatre to restore a historic theatre in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of New York City. Under his leadership, the company was heralded as the “flash point for the fusion of theatre and politics” by The New York Times. It partnered with Harvard University to perform Chekhov in Turkish farmlands and presented Ibsen on a stage floating outside of the state capital in West Virginia. His production of Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith is credited with saving Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center from closure in what The Wall Street Journal called the “most dramatic blend of theater and health policy in nearly 30 years.”

Jonathan’s hiring concludes a nation-wide search by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “As a board, we were committed to finding someone who would carry on our mission and also bring fresh insight to our existing dedicated and hardworking staff,” said Board President, David Francis.

Solari will focus on strengthening existing partnerships and building streams of sustainable support for the Foundation and its assets. He joins longtime Development Associate, Shanna Stowe. Shanna will continue to focus on individual giving, grant writing, and expanding the local and national base of support.  

As a theatre and opera director, Jonathan worked with some of the greatest artists of his time. He staged works for Lincoln Center, Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castelton Festival, and Belarus Free Theatre, among many others.

He later worked to build a culture of philanthropy with organizations including Community Shares of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, Working Capital for Community Needs, and United Way of Dane County. Jonathan holds degrees from New York University and Boston University.


The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation invests proceeds from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell and additional funds that we raise for year-round programming in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.   Education programs include the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music, the Tom Dent Congo Square Lectures, the Class Got Brass competition for school brass bands, a youth audio workshop program, youth vocal workshops, and more! Economic Development initiatives include the Community Partnership Grants, the Catapult Fund accelerator program and Sync Up entertainment industry workshops. Cultural enrichment programs include the Jazz & Heritage Concert Series and annual Foundation Festivals: the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, the Congo Square Rhythms Festival, the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival and the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival.  Importantly, these are free programs that the Jazz and Heritage Foundation has developed over many years to ensure that we give back to Louisiana. The Jazz & Heritage Foundation also owns radio station WWOZ 90.7-FM and the Jazz & Heritage Archive.  In late 2014, the Foundation opened the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center – an education and community facility named for the late Jazz Fest founder George Wein and his wife Joyce.  In March of 2020, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation established the Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund – a statewide relief fund to support Louisiana musicians who were affected by the pandemic. In the last three years the Jazz & Heritage Foundation has been able to provide relief funds of more than $3 million dollars supporting musicians, music industry gig workers, Black Masking Indians and other indigenous cultural practitioners. To learn more about the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, please visit us online at