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This profile was last updated on 10/14/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Executive Director

Western Folklife Center Gallery
Phone: (775) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: d***@***.org
Local Address:  Nevada , United States
Western Folklife Center
501 Railroad St.
Elko , Nevada 89801
United States

Company Description: The Western Folklife Center is a regional nonprofit folk arts organization dedicated to preserving, perpetuating, and presenting the folk arts of the West. The...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Ph. D. , Arts Education
  • Ph.D.
  • Ph.D. Director
76 Total References
Web References
World Arts West : About : Staff and Board Members, 14 Oct 2015 [cached]
David Roche Executive Director, Western Folklife Center
Chicago Public Schools, 24 Aug 2006 [cached]
Former head of Old Town School of Folk Music Appointed Director of Fine and Performing Arts - David Roche to lead newly organized CPS Arts Department Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools
David Roche to lead newly organized CPS Arts Department
The Chicago Public Schools announced Wednesday the appointment of David Roche as director of fine and performing arts, a newly organized department that will focus solely on visual arts, dance, music and drama.
Roche, formerly executive director of Old Town School of Folk Music, holds a Ph. D in music from University of California at Berkeley. Roche has more than 15 years experience in arts education including service appointments to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council.
The Chicago Board of Education approved the appointment of Roche on Wednesday.
David Roche Joins ..., 2 Aug 2014 [cached]
David Roche Joins Western Folklife Center As Executive Director - David Roche Joins Western Folklife Center As Executive Director
David Roche Joins Western Folklife Center As Executive Director
The Western Folklife Center's Board of Trustees has hired David Roche to be the organization's new Executive Director. Roche has spent 35 years leading nonprofit arts organizations, focused on the public presentation of traditional art forms. In his new post at the Western Folklife Center, Roche hopes to maintain the quality and integrity of the organization's current programs, including the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, while building bridges among diverse communities in the rural West and continuing to move the organization forward in the 21st century.
"The Western Folklife Center and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering are truly gems of Americana. The quality of every aspect of the work-from documentation and archiving to retail and festival management, gallery exhibition and media production-is outstanding and nationally and internationally recognized," says Roche. "My task is to maintain that high quality while reaching out to new communities and potential partners while honoring the diversity that exists in Elko and in the region with projects that connect us all."
Roche spent seven years as the Executive Director of Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, one of the largest nonprofit community music schools in the country, with 6,000 students and an annual budget that rose from $6 to $9 million during his tenure. The Old Town School of Folk Music produced over 80 ticketed performances in a year and its Chicago Folk & Roots Festival enjoyed an average attendance of 20,000. For his work at Old Town, Roche was given the award for "Chicago Arts Management Excellence" in 2005 by the Chicago Arts and Business Council.
The Chicago festival is just one of several that Roche has managed. He served as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and as Traditional Arts Director for the Festival at the Lake, an annual event in Oakland, California, which drew 120,000 attendees. At the Festival of the Lake, Roche curated and produced the "Local Cultures" program, where he presented Native Californian cultural performance and craft demonstration, as well as programming with the state's recent refugee Southeast Asian communities.
Most recently, Roche was Executive Director of the Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Office of Arts Education for the Chicago Public Schools where he established the first public-privately partnered, multi-disciplinary arts central office in that district, the third largest in the United States, with a total of 650 schools and 408,000 students. During his tenure, he was in charge of raising $2.6 million in new funding for arts in the Chicago schools and was the executive producer of the Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, the first comprehensive, national standards-based curriculum framework for all arts disciplines in the history of the district and a model for the National Endowment for the Arts' Arts Education guidelines.
Roche has also served multiple terms as a Governor for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the GRAMMYS) in Chicago and San Francisco, has been an associate producer for Chris Strachwitz's Arhoolie Records, and was a DJ for "Worldmusicmobile" on Berkeley, California's KPFA-FM for seven years.
"The Board is very excited that David, with his vast and impressive experience, will be helping us look to the future and envision and seize new opportunities," says Gail Steiger, Chairman of the Western Folklife Center's Board of Trustees.
David Roche holds a Ph.D. in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley, and masters' degrees in ethnomusicology and music education from Wesleyan University and Holy Names College. Roche has held two Fulbright Fellowships to India and one each to France and Hungary, and has also been the recipient of three American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowships for Hindi language and graduate research in ethnomusicology. He is considered an international cultural authority on South Asian communities and an accomplished sitar player.
Western Folklife Center Staff | About Us | About Us Section, 7 July 2015 [cached]
David Roche
David Roche Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots.
"The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is ..., 7 Jan 2015 [cached]
"The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a great place to have these conversations," explains David Roche, Executive Director of the Western Folklife Center, which produces the Gathering.
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