Boston Symphony Orchestra Names First Woman Chief Executive
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Boston Symphony Orchestra Names First Woman Chief Executive

The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday that Gayle Samuel, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, would become its next chief executive, making her the first woman to head the institution in its 140-year history.

In selecting him, the orchestra was seen in the West, one of the most successful American orchestras of recent years, for his choice to succeed Mark Volp, Who led the boston symphony For 23 years. Samuel will be responsible for running the organization in one of its most serious crises: the epidemic has left the Boston Symphony, one of the nation’s wealthiest orchestras, struggling after months of lost revenue and when When the live audience returns, there will be deep uncertainty.

Samuel will become president and chief executive of Boston in June. By the time she moves out of Los Angeles, she has worked at the Philharmonic for nearly three decades. She said in an interview that she did not envision leaving Los Angeles until she started a conversation with the Boston Symphony.

“There is no other orchestra in the world that I want to be a part of,” Samuel said in an interview. The company is exceptional for its activities, she said, which include the main symphony orchestra; Boston Pop, its lighter alter ego; And its thriving summer music festival in Tanglewood, Berkshire.

Samuel was part of the management team that helped the Los Angeles Philharmonic envy the world of classical music. He was named as the executive chairman and chief executive of the orchestra when Deborah Borda, its longtime leader, took a brief rest in 2015 to teach at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Borda left New York. He was later given acting again. Philharmonic. Samuel did Borda was expected to succeed, But the Philharmonic board was elected outside the organization Simon woods, Which led the Seattle Symphony. (When he stepped down in 2019 after less than two years in the post, Philharmonic Elevated chad smith, Who was its chief operating officer.)

She is also the president of the Hollywood Bowl, which serves as the Philharmic’s lucrative summer home, making the most of its revenue.

Samuel grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles; His parents were public school music teachers, and the violin became his instrument of choice. He studied music and psychology at the University of Southern California, where he later did an MBA

Although he spent the majority of his career on the West Coast, Samuel has a strong connection to Tanglewood. She remembers stopping there on a family road trip in 1986 and watching a concert organized by Leonard Bernstein. That The concert became famous When violinist Midori was 14 years old, the E violin had to swap instruments twice after it broke on his violin, then on the borrowed violin.

“I fell in love with that place,” Samuel said. He soon found his way back, and found a way back one summer as a student, and two summers as a staff member.

In Boston, despite the struggle and artistic growth of the classical music industry, Volpe leaves behind a legacy of financial stability. The orchestral settlement during his tenure – the largest in classical music – more than tripled, to $ 509 million. Its music director, Andreas Nelson, Is the most sought after in the world.

But when the orchestra returns to perform live in the concert hall, it will be in a different world: there are already musicians Agreed on pay cut If the orchestra meets the financial benchmark it will only return to normal.

Samuel said, “It’s a difficult time for everybody and I think every organization is going to be thinking about how to get out of this.” “It’s a long way, but also an opportunity to think about different things.”



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