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Mark Williams Announced as New CEO of Toronto Symphony Orchestra

January 12, 2022

Toronto, Ontario—January 12, 2022:  Cathy Beck, Chair of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) Board of Directors, is pleased to announce that Mark Williams has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Williams is a senior leader in the orchestra sector, having held positions at the San Francisco Symphony and IMG Artists New York, prior to his current role as Chief Artistic and Operations Officer at The Cleveland Orchestra. In his current position he oversees all aspects of artistic planning and programming, touring, and orchestra operations.

“The TSO Board of Directors is very pleased and excited to welcome Mark to lead the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mark’s strategic acuity, in-depth producing and programming skills, and bold, creative thinking shone through during a very extensive international search. This is an exciting time in the TSO’s history—Music Director Gustavo Gimeno began his leadership with an exhilarating season opener in November and we are on the cusp of celebrating our 100th anniversary. Mark will build on our momentum and bring his extensive leadership skills to steer the TSO towards even more successes,” said Ms. Beck.

With oversight of a $24 million budget at The Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Williams leads the development of subscription series in Cleveland and Miami, a touring schedule that frequently brings the Orchestra to Europe and Asia, and operations for the Orchestra and choruses.  He first joined The Cleveland Orchestra in 2013, producing acclaimed productions of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (in Cleveland’s Severance Music Center and Vienna’s Musikverein), Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande, and a double bill of Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard’s Castle (a co-production with the Joffrey Ballet). He has facilitated performances of many prominent artists, including sopranos Renée Fleming and Nina Stemme, pianists Murray Perahia and Maria João Pires, conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Sir Antonio Pappano, and shepherded commissions and premieres from noted composers Hans Abrahamsen, Thomas Adès, Wynton Marsalis, Olga Neuwirth, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Sean Shepherd.

From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Williams served as Artistic Administrator of the San Francisco Symphony, where he directed programming of various series, co-produced staged opera, and led casting. Mr. Williams began his career in artist management, holding posts at Columbia Artists Management and IMG Artists, working with artists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Alan Gilbert, Susan Graham, and Dawn Upshaw.

A native of Ohio, Mr. Williams holds a bachelor of music degree in horn performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University. 

“From the first meeting with the orchestra, board, and staff members of the search committee, I felt palpable chemistry and knew that leading this incredible organization would be an extraordinary opportunity. This is an orchestra with immense musical gifts, big ambitions, limitless energy, and a desire to connect with its community through music. I look forward to forging deep and long-lasting relationships with Torontonians, and getting to know the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s dedicated patrons, subscribers, and donors. I have been privileged to work with Gustavo Gimeno for many years as a guest conductor at The Cleveland Orchestra, and I feel confident that our strong partnership will achieve his artistic vision for Toronto’s great orchestra. My husband Joseph and I are eager to call Toronto, one of the world’s greatest cities, home,” said Mr. Williams.

Maestro Gustavo Gimeno, who began his tenure as Music Director this season added, “On behalf of the musicians, and the TSO’s artistic community, I want to extend a very warm welcome to Mark. I have worked with Mark for many years, and I am really thrilled that he will be leading our great orchestra. I find his experience, talent, determination, motivation and curiosity truly inspiring and I know that I will have an ideal partner. I very much look forward to working with Mark and building on the exciting possibilities which lie ahead for us at the TSO.”

Mr. Williams will begin as CEO in April, 2022.

Press can download a high resolution photo here.

The TSO acknowledges Mary Beck as the Musicians’ Patron in perpetuity for her generous and longstanding support.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

The appearances of Gustavo Gimeno this season are generously supported by Susan Brenninkmeyer in memory of Hans Brenninkmeyer.

The TSO is grateful for the support of the Toronto Symphony Foundation and all levels of government, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario.

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