ROBERT W. CROSS has enjoyed a distinguished career as a performer and arts administrator. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied percussion with Vic Firth, timpanist of the Boston Symphony, Cross has worked with such prestigious conductors as Klaus Tennstedt, Colin Davis, Leonard Bernstein, Joseph Silverstein, Lukas Foss and JoAnn Falletta.

Mr. Cross has performed with the Boston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, the American Repertory Theater at the Leonard Bernstein Festival of American Music, the Skaneateles Festival, Brevard, and the Eastern Music Festival. In the pit with some of the world's most prestigious ballet companies, Cross has accompanied the Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Mr. Cross holds the position of Principal Percussion for the Virginia Symphony.

As Artistic Director as well as Executive Director of the Virginia Arts Festival, Mr. Cross draws upon his vast experience as an artist and manager to bring world-renowned artists to the Festival and to showcase Virginia's premier performing arts organizations and museums under the auspices of the Virginia Arts Festival. Since its inception, Cross has been responsible for the artistic planning, development, and budgeting of this expanding festival. Beginning with an initial annual budget of $1.7 million for a 17-day festival, Cross now oversees a $4 million budget for a five-week festival. Under Cross' leadership, the Virginia Arts Festival has become a destination for local visitors as well as visitors worldwide with attendance expanding three-fold since 1997. The Virginia Arts Festival has also become a destination for esteemed artists, many of which pursue inclusion into Cross' handcrafted roster including a colorful parade of theater companies, dance companies and chamber groups like Alvin Ailey, Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance Theater of Harlem, Royal Shakespeare Company, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Garrison Keillor, Van Cliburn, Tokyo String Quartet, Guarneri String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet and guest conductors Julius Rudel, Loren Maazel, and Yoel Levi.