Mark Hanson joined the San Francisco Symphony as Executive Director in September 2017. Recently given the title of Chief Executive Officer, Hanson has overseen a period of exciting change and forward progress. A new multi-year financial plan, aimed at restoring balanced budgets and enabling organizational growth, has inspired a 40% increase in Board annual fund giving and attracted $10 million in special funding. Within the parameters of this plan, Hanson successfully negotiated a new four-year musician contract in November 2018 that cements the San Francisco Symphony’s leadership position among American orchestras and introduces a unique housing shared-equity program to help combat the Bay Area’s high cost of housing. These important developments were soon followed by the appointment of acclaimed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as Music Director Designate, an outcome that The New York Times reported as “the talk of the music world.” One of the most influential and creative forces in music, Salonen will team up with eight new SFS collaborative partners from varied creative realms beginning in September 2020. Most recently, the San Francisco Symphony announced a new partnership with Stanford University to present an annual series of concerts in the newly-renovated Frost Amphitheater on the Stanford campus. With a seating capacity of more than 6,000, the outdoor venue will provide the San Francisco Symphony with a long-desired summer home in the heart of Silicon Valley. Prior to his SFS appointment, Hanson served as Executive Director & CEO of the Houston Symphony between 2010 and 2017, during which time the orchestra appointed Colombian- born, Vienna-trained conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada as Music Director. Early in his tenure, the Houston Symphony embarked on an ambitious and successful plan to expand the Symphony’s audience and donor bases through expanded community partnerships and performances, new concert formats and multi-media projects, and increased marketing and visibility. As a result of that plan, the Houston Symphony achieved six consecutive balanced budgets, and saw annual contributed income more than double and earned revenue grow by 20%. While serving as President & Executive Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (2004-2010), Hanson helped to secure the services of Edo de Waart as Music Director and Marvin Hamlisch as Principal Pops Conductor. A trained cellist who studied at the Eastman School of Music for two years, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and participated in the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, holding posts at the New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife, Christina, are parents to three sons. About the San Francisco Symphony The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) is widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the U.S. Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas since 1995, the Orchestra is a leading presence among American orchestras at home and around the world, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In December 2018, the San Francisco Symphony announced Esa-Pekka Salonen as its Music Director Designate. Salonen will begin his appointment as the SFS’s 12th Music Director in September 2020, at which time Michael Tilson Thomas will become the Orchestra’s first Music Director Laureate, following his remarkable 25-year tenure as Music Director. The San Francisco Symphony presents more than 220 concerts and presentations annually for an audience of nearly 450,000 in its home of Davies Symphony Hall and through its active national and international touring. A cornerstone of the organization’s mission, the San Francisco Symphony’s education programs are the most extensive offered by any American orchestra today, providing free comprehensive music education to every first- through fifth- grade student in the San Francisco public schools, and serving more than 100,000 children, students, educators, and families annually. The SFS has won such recording awards as France’s Grand Prix du Disque and Britain’s Gramophone Award, as well as 15 Grammy Awards. In 2004, the SFS launched the multimedia Keeping Score on PBS-TV and the web. In 2014, the SFS inaugurated SoundBox, a new experimental performance venue and music series located backstage at Davies Symphony Hall. SFS radio broadcasts, the first in the nation to feature symphonic music when they began in 1926, today carry the Orchestra’s concerts across the country.
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