The Houston Symphony announced today that Mark C. Hanson, its Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, will step down from his role this summer to join the San Francisco Symphony as Executive Director. Hanson, who has been at the orchestra’s helm since May 2010 and holds the Margaret Alkek Williams Executive Director/CEO Chair, will begin his new post on September 1.
Hanson’s seven-year tenure brought unprecedented artistic, community impact and financial growth to Houston’s largest performing arts organization. Among his achievements are the appointment and contract extension of Colombian-born, Vienna-trained Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, the release of multiple recordings, and a memorable Centennial Season celebration that brought world-renowned talents such as Renee Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, John Williams, Midori, and Sigourney Weaver to Houston. Hanson has forged deeper connections between the Houston Symphony and the Greater Houston community. The creation of the Symphony’s groundbreaking and nationally-recognized Community-Embedded Musician program resulted in the hiring of four hybrid string players who last year offered over 700 new interactions in Houston schools, hospitals and community centers. Hanson also led the formation of African-American, Asian and Hispanic Leadership Councils within the organization which help the Symphony better connect with Houston’s growing diverse community.
Hanson departs the Houston Symphony with a track record of financial success and stability. Since 2010, the orchestra’s budget has grown from $25M to $34M, annual contributed revenue has more than doubled, earned revenue has grown by more than 20%, total attendance has increased almost 20%, and six consecutive balanced budgets have been achieved. The organization has become nationally recognized for the healthy organizational culture that exists between orchestra, staff and Board.
The orchestra has begun and is positioned to continue progress towards its vision to become American’s most relevant and accessible top-ten orchestra by 2025. This vision is a key component of the Houston Symphony’s ten-year strategic plan, developed collaboratively with over 40 members of the Board, staff, orchestra and community, and approved by the Houston Symphony Board in 2014.
“Over the past seven years, I have had the privilege of working with a talented and dedicated team of administrators, musicians, board members and volunteers who have collectively accomplished so much at the Houston Symphony,” said Hanson. “Under the inspired leadership of Andrés, the Houston Symphony has never sounded better or meant more to the people of Houston. My wife Christina and I are indebted to the hundreds of Houston Symphony family members who have supported us and who will continue to support an institution that we will always admire.”
“On behalf of the Board, I thank Mark for his partnership with the Houston Symphony during an exciting period that included the arrival of Andrés Orozco-Estrada, a memorable Centennial celebration and the creation and adoption of our important 10-year strategic plan,” stated Houston Symphony Society (HSS) Board President Janet F. Clark. “The Houston Symphony has been fortunate to have Mark’s leadership, and we congratulate him on such a prestigious appointment in San Francisco. We are grateful that he has helped to build such a strong foundation for our next President and CEO.”
Serving as Co-Interim Executive Directors will be Chief Development Officer David Chambers and Chief of Strategic Initiatives Amanda T. Dinitz. Chambers and Dinitz will work closely with Music Director Orozco-Estrada, Clark and the Board of Trustees. Other members of the Houston Symphony’s senior management team who will assist in the transition include Danny Granados, Chief Financial Officer; Vicky Dominguez, Chief Operating Officer; Trazanna Moreno, Chief Marketing Officer; and Pam Blaine, Chief of Education and Community Programming.
The Houston Symphony will launch a national search for a permanent Executive Director and CEO this summer. Catherine French Group, a national executive search firm focused on the arts, has been selected to lead the process. The search committee will be chaired by Symphony Board member and Strategic Planning Committee Chair, David Pruner.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.