Vickery, a former executive director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, chief executive officer of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and director of the National Endowment for the Arts music program, began his tenure in Arkansas in 1997.
A New Jersey native and trombonist, Vickery earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the Juilliard School.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he almost tripled the orchestra's budget after his arrival; by 2004 it had grown from $1.2 million to $3.5 million.
Music director David Itkin told the Democrat-Gazette, "I was on the [search] committee when we were looking [for a new executive director] nearly 10 years ago ... I was shocked to see his name, because I already knew who he was. The first thing I said to the committee was that we need to pursue him. He'll never come here, but we should pursue it just for grins.
One player told the paper, "Bill Vickery was the most accessible executive director imaginable. His office door was always open, literally. There was nothing ever aloof about him. He realized that connection and communication was the ideal way to run a symphony."