Transition Takes Place at a Time of Great Momentum, Progress, and Strength
After leading a highly successful turnaround of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, President and CEO Peter Kjome has decided to conclude his tenure with the organization at the end of his contract in January 2022.
During Kjome’s time at the helm, the BSO has made substantial progress to support artistic growth, innovation, and expansion of the Orchestra’s family of audience members and donors. The recently announced 2021-22 Season reflects the positive momentum and transformation underway and was built on the organization’s dramatically increased financial strength.
Last year, the BSO announced a historic collective bargaining agreement with its musicians, the first five-year agreement in two decades. A highlight of Kjome’s tenure was re-establishing international touring after a 13-year absence, including the BSO’s debut at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival under the baton of Music Director Marin Alsop.
The BSO Board of Directors expressed appreciation for Kjome’s achievements since his appointment in early 2017. The Board intends to launch a national search for his replacement in May. Once a new leader has been identified, Kjome will transition to a consulting capacity through the close of his contract to ensure a seamless transition.
“Peter Kjome has made outstanding contributions during a time of important progress for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,” said Board Chairman Barry Rosen. “The BSO is tied to the health and vibrancy of Baltimore and Maryland, and we appreciate the significant accomplishments that have been achieved during Peter’s tenure. Peter has been instrumental in our efforts to advance the BSO, but we understand his decision and will now begin the process of searching for his successor.”
The leadership transition comes at an important time of continued progress for the organization. The financial results last year were the strongest in a decade, thanks to extraordinary philanthropy and shared sacrifices in response to the pandemic.
“It has been a true privilege to serve as the President and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,” Kjome said. “We have made important progress to help assure the BSO’s long-term strength and positive direction, and this progress has made this among the most significant periods in the BSO’s history. I am deeply grateful to our Board of Directors for their leadership and support, and I greatly appreciate working together in collaboration with our exceptional musicians, superb management team, and Music Director Marin Alsop.”
Kjome continued, “I am proud of all we have accomplished and remain dedicated to the shared vision we are working together to implement with the support of the community. While I have never been more optimistic about the future of the BSO, I have accomplished what I have set out to do and am ready for a new challenge.”
The Orchestra’s positive momentum has been enabled by important factors such as strong philanthropic support for the Transformation Fund outlined in the organization’s new five-year strategic plan. The plan was developed with the input of key stakeholders and under the advisement of Michael Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.
“It has been a pleasure collaborating with the BSO and, especially, with Peter Kjome over the past year,” Kaiser said. “The BSO has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround, no small thanks to Peter, who played such a central role in the success of the effort. He has left an indelible mark on the BSO.”
To help the BSO move forward with confidence, it has secured $10 million in multi-year commitments to the Transformation Fund to support the Orchestra’s strategic plan. These commitments are part of vital and ongoing efforts to expand the BSO’s family of audience members and donors.
In addition, in 2020, the BSO announced collective commitments totaling $48 million through the Resounding Campaign, a multi-year comprehensive campaign to help ensure the Orchestra’s visibility, relevance, and service in Baltimore, in Montgomery County, and across Maryland.
“I have appreciated collaborating with Peter Kjome, a musician himself with a deep love for symphonic music who is also an experienced Kellogg School of Management-educated business leader,” said Music Director Marin Alsop. “Peter leaves the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a far stronger position than when he arrived. I am glad our journey together included the BSO’s successful debuts at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival.”
One of the critical factors supporting progress at the BSO has been a renewed focus and commitment to collaborative work with musicians, staff, board members, and other leaders.
“It’s been an astonishing transformation at the BSO,” said BSO Players’ Committee Chair Brian Prechtl. “We’re working to move to a new paradigm, one of collaboration, in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While we have faced significant challenges in the past, the remarkable turnaround we are in the midst of has been borne out of shared determination. Peter Kjome has been a major part of this success story. The Players’ Committee and I deeply appreciate his leadership.”
The BSO’s 2021-22 Season marks a return to performances for live audiences. The season features the return of Marin Alsop as Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder and debut of James Conlon as Artistic Advisor, and the BSO will showcase exceptional conductors as an exciting music director search begins. The season also continues the paradigm shift in equity and representation initiated during BSO Sessions, the Orchestra’s acclaimed digital concert series.
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. Under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop, the orchestra is internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings, and educational outreach initiatives, including OrchKids.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs annually for more than 275,000 people throughout the State of Maryland. Since 1982, the BSO has performed at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, and since 2005, with the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, the BSO became the nation’s first orchestra performing its full season of classical and pops concerts in two metropolitan areas. More recently, 2020 marked the beginning of a new era of artistry, innovation, stability, and digital accessibility, including the launch of the virtual platform BSO OffStage and a groundbreaking docu-concert series BSO Sessions. More information about the BSO can be found at BSOmusic.org.