Matthew Loden, CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), will be stepping down from his leadership role to return to his hometown of Houston, Texas. He has been appointed Rice University’s Lynette S. Autrey dean at the Shepherd School of Music, which is recognized as one of the most important and prestigious schools of music in North America.
Mr. Loden’s leadership since joining the TSO in July 2018 has had a significant stabilizing effect on the organization, including during the past 15 months of the pandemic. He hired its new Music Director, Gustavo Gimeno, oversaw dynamic music programming including the premières of numerous new works and creative partnerships, secured major philanthropic investment (including the largest individual gift to any Canadian orchestra from the Mary Beck estate —$12.5M), revitalized patron attendance, and developed community-based music initiatives that have deepened the TSO’s relationship with its city. Loden has completed a transformational financial plan that has retired most of the TSO’s accumulated deficit, with the current year anticipating a surplus.
“The decision to return to Texas was deeply personal—to be closer to our family—and coincided with an offer from Rice University, where I began my career as Director of Music Admissions. It's difficult to leave the Toronto arts community and the many colleagues at TSO, where it’s been an honour to work with such a creative group of musical leaders and volunteers. I send my deepest thanks and appreciation to the board, musicians and staff for the opportunity to live in such a spectacular city and to work with Gustavo and the remarkable artists at the TSO. I have never been more confident and excited for the future of this orchestra, and am committed during this transition to make sure the positive trajectory we are on will continue well into the future,” says Loden.
Mr. Loden came to the TSO after executive leadership roles at the Philadelphia Orchestra and at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Known within the industry as a culture leader and action-focused administrator, he is also an accomplished professional violinist.
“It has been my privilege to collaborate with Matthew. He has been an ideal artistic partner, especially in the re-planning of our seasons and in navigating the pandemic. He has set us on a path that is clear, hopeful, and makes a priority of artistic excellence. This foundation will continue to allow the TSO to bring wonderful music to Toronto, to Canada, and to the world,” says Gustavo Gimeno, Music Director.
Loden’s final day at the TSO will be at the orchestra’s online Annual General Meeting on September 22, 2021, and he begins at Rice University in October. An international search is being led by the Toronto based firm Caldwell Partners, and the TSO board has already formed a search committee. Roberta Smith, who is currently Vice-President & Chief of Staff, and who has served in senior roles at the TSO for over 20 years, will assume the role of Interim CEO during the transition period.
“The Board is deeply grateful for the extraordinary skill, leadership and strategic acuity that Matthew has brought to the TSO. He has been the ideal CEO for our orchestra, connecting the TSO with many new audiences—his impact throughout Toronto’s arts and culture sector will be missed. Despite the turbulence of the past 15 months, the TSO remains on firm footing thanks to Matthew’s sturdy leadership. He has built a team that reflects a commitment to growth and transformation, and the board feels confident that the TSO’s leaders will continue to ensure the organization’s stability as we return to in-person performances. This transition is another opportunity for us to move the TSO from strength to strength,” said Cathy Beck, Chair of the Board.