Leading arts organizations to achieve programmatic and financial success is Kevin Irving’s reputation, earned over more than 30 years in the field. A rare dancer whose performance career spanned multiple disciplines, Kevin’s professional history is marked by bold leaps, increasing responsibilities, positive outcomes, and a dynamic personality that aims to help people connect with each other and to their community.
Following a performance career that included work with luminaries such as Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, and notables from classical and contemporary ballet, Irving was invited to join Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato, as rehearsal director and later Associate Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza, in Madrid. He later went on to direct The Göteborg Ballet in Sweden for five years and is credited with turning around the company during his tenure. After returning to the USA in 2007, Irving established a non-profit, I-DANCE, which connected American choreographers and teachers with dance communities in South and Central America.
In 2013 he became the third Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre, a position that earned Kevin renown in the Northwest arts community. While at OBT, he launched the successful junior company (OBT2), doubled Education/Community Engagement initiatives, led a full re-branding effort, and won praise for multiple artistic and organizational collaborations that produced new audiences. Seventy percent of new ballets commissioned during his tenure were by female or BIPOC-identified choreographers, reflecting Kevin’s attention to the evolution of ballet as an art form in the 21st Century.
Kevin and his partner (now husband) of 31 years, choreographer Nicolo Fonte, enjoy Portland and the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. They combine an active life in the arts with many fresh air activities that involve their cherished mini-pinscher Ziggy.
Photo by Michael Slobodian
Dr. Jillian Fischer (she/her) began working with the PCSO as the Operations Manager in August, 2022. Jillian studied music and English literature at Lawrence University, graduating with a BA in 2013, and continued her education in music, completing an MA in 2019 and a PhD in 2022 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her graduate studies have included a broad survey of classical music, including teaching music appreciation classes to non-music majors, and her doctoral research focused on the proliferation of far-right political extremism in heavy metal communities. When she isn’t listening to especially loud music, Jillian enjoys baking, an assortment of yarn- and thread-based crafts, doing aerial, and spending time with her girlfriend and two cats.
Patron Services Manager / Marketing & Development AssociateEmail
Emery (she/they) is a fresh face at the Portland Columbia Symphony, having taken up the role of Patron Services Manager / Marketing & Development Associate in November 2022. Born in Bangkok, and raised both in Thailand and Hong Kong, Emery came to America in pursuit of higher education. In 2018, she graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in English, minoring in Creative Writing and Theater Arts before going on to earn an M.S. in Journalism in 2020. Emery’s focus throughout her academic career has been on the study of the representation of BIPOC and marginalized communities in literature, arts and media. It is something that she is passionate about and advocates for in every aspect of her life. Combined with her passion for storytelling and film, Emery loves being a part of and creating films that make us think.
When she’s not working at PSCO or freelancing as a photographer/filmmaker, Emery enjoys working out, hiking, swimming in waterfalls, etc. When it’s cold outside though, she’s probably just wrapped in a blanket and watching copious amounts of cheesy, Christmas films.
Executive Director Emerita
Betsy Hatton was instrumental in formulating the by-laws, articles of incorporation of Portland Columbia Symphony, and authored its first five-year business plan. She also served on the long range planning committee that developed the first Board of Directors in 1992, served on the Board of Directors for six years, and was President of the Board for two years.
Ms. Hatton graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Romance Languages and Education. In addition to teaching, she has served as a consultant of major event planning for the March of Dimes and Cor-Events.
Ms. Hatton began her musical studies at age twelve. She has been a violinist with PCSO since 1986, and has played with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Yaquina Orchestra, Vancouver (WA) Symphony, and Eugene Symphony.
“It has been my privilege to be a part of PCSO on every level and to be the first Executive Director. It is my fondest continuing wish that we keep our orchestra and organization vital and strong. We have always used our mission statement as our guiding principle: To make quality music affordable, accessible, and in a friendly spirit. We believe that it takes both the musician and audience to create the magic of that intangible collective experience of sharing live music with other living and breathing human beings. I am confident in the continuing enrichment that music provides in all of our lives – and the important role that PCSO plays in the vibrant arts community that defines our region.”
In addition to music, Betsy is an avid cook and gardener happily growing most of her own spices and vegetables in her spare time. Betsy enjoys time with her children and grandchildren and of course her husband, Greg. (Secret pleasure – U of O sports – all of them!)