Michael Tiknis

Administration / Artistic Team

Michael Tiknis was the first president and managing director of the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago – guiding the artistic and organizational vision of the Harris Theater since 2004. Working together with the Theater’s Board and staff, he managed the Theater’s mission of partnership and collaboration with an array of Chicago’s performing arts organizations. Under his leadership, the Harris became a home to some of the city’s world-renowned music and dance institutions, such as Hubbard Street Dance, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Harris has also produced several commissions given directly to artists to support the creation of new works on diverse subjects. Tiknis created Harris Theater Presents, a series of acclaimed performances by national and international companies including a historic Paris Opera Ballet performance and simulcast in 2012 reaching more than 16,000 people in Millennium Park. He initiated a strong collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago to introduce the Beyond the Aria series pairing internally renowned opera stars with performers from the Ryan Opera Center. In support of his vision to develop and foster a young arts audience, Tiknis crafted the successful Mix at 6 series – a cocktail hour performance showcasing international artists for as little as $10 a ticket. In 2016, Tiknis appointed Brian Brooks as the theater’s first ever Choreographer in Residence with three new commissions to be set for several dance companies across the country – one of which is Miami City Ballet. Brooks’ commission will have its world premiere on Feb. 9 during Program Three of MCB’s 2017-18 season.

Tiknis previously held the position of President/CEO of the Midland Center for the Arts in Midland, Michigan as well as Managing Director of the Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and Houston’s Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre. In addition, he has worked as Marketing and Public Relations Director with the San Antonio Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and its May Festival.
He has served on the music panel for the United States Artists recognizing the country’s most accomplished and innovative artists. He has also demonstrated his commitment to the industry by serving on panels, teaching at the college level, and acting as consultant for organizations across the country.
Tiknis did his undergraduate study at Seton Hall University and has pursued graduate coursework at Catholic University of America and at New School University. He was recently a Roman Nomitch Fellow of the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago, and a participant in Harvard’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management seminar.