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Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Saddened By Death of Former Executive Director Molly Sasse French

“Molly was an extraordinary leader, very much well-known and loved by the musicians, staff, and patrons of the CSO and by the entire community.  She loved music and loved this symphony and we are pleased to have been an important part of her life.  On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to convey our deepest condolences to her family,” said CSO President of the Board Don McDowell.

Sasse French served as the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera beginning in 2007 and was widely credited with increasing and enhancing the scope of the CSO, while making the organization more financially stable.  After resigning from the CSO in January 2016 for medical reasons, Sasse French remained an avid supporter of the CSO and attended concerts and events as often as she could.  A fixture in the community, she was active in many local and national organizations and at her church, First Centenary United Methodist.

Current Executive Director Samantha Teter said, “When I was promoted to Executive Director after Molly’s resignation, I knew that I had big shoes to fill. Molly was respected by so many in the community. The CSO is stronger because of her nine years at the helm, and her influence on this organization will be sorely missed.”

Services for Sasse French will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 3pm at First Centenary United Methodist Church on McCallie Avenue.  The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will perform its Thursday, October 20 Masterworks concert which will include Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, a work that according to Music Director Kayoko Dan celebrates art and life and was a personal favorite of Sasse French, in her memory.

Memorial gifts to the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera may be made by calling 423.267.8583 x 2103 or visiting

Statements of support from the community

Statement from John Farrimond, Siskin Childrens' Institute

With news of Molly Sasse’s passing, I send my heartfelt sympathies to all members of the board, staff and the orchestra. Siskin Children’s Institute had the pleasure of working with Molly and her team to create Symphony Sounds, a series of intimate concerts with sections of the orchestra for children with special needs and their families. We also worked with her on efforts to provide more opportunities for kids with special needs to access other concerts. Last year’s show at VW is a particularly pleasant memory.

Cancer is the enemy of us all and I do not hide my anger that it has taken yet another good person from us. Molly will be missed and I’m sure her contributions to the Symphony and the community will not be forgotten.

John Farrimond
President & CEO
Siskin Children’s Institute

The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera continues to inspire, engage, and enrich the greater Chattanooga community as it enters its 85th season. Conducted by Music Director Kayoko Dan, the CSO consists of top players from the Chattanooga area as well as from across the southern region. Well known for its education and engagement events, the musicians of the CSO perform to more than 30,000 students each year throughout the greater Chattanooga Community.

Samantha Teter
Executive Director
Phone: 423.267.8583 ext. 2104
Address: 701 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402



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