Utah Symphony | Utah Opera announced today that Paul Meecham, president & CEO, will be stepping down at the end of this month. He has served in this position since July 2016. Patricia A. Richards, who served as chair of the USUO board from 2005 through 2014 and was interim CEO from 2015 through 2016, will become interim CEO starting October 1, 2019.
Speaking about his decision, Mr. Meecham said, “I have enjoyed immensely my time with USUO, with its unique blend of Symphony, Opera and the Deer Valley® Music Festival. In making this decision, it is definitely a bitter-sweet moment. However, after a very fulfilling career in the orchestra field spanning almost 40 years, I would like to explore new avenues. And with Thierry Fischer’s recent announcement that he would be stepping down as music director at the end of the 2021-22 season, my decision will allow the next president & CEO the opportunity to see through the search process and the appointment of his successor.”
During his tenure Paul Meecham has overseen significant growth in audiences and ticket revenue to achieve three consecutive years of balanced budgets. He has led several new initiatives including the highly successful Films in Concert series, a new casual concert experience “Unwound”, and the start in fall 2019 of USUO’s new residency at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem. He has also championed a new strategic engagement with Utah’s Hispanic/Latino community, placed an increased emphasis on serving families, and raised awareness of USUO’s statewide education programs.
Board Chair, Tom Love, commented, “On behalf of the USUO’s Board of Trustees, our deepest thanks to Paul for his leadership this past three years. Forty years in this industry is a lifetime, and we congratulate him on achieving that milestone. It is truly Paul’s desire to go out on top and the timing is such that this allows for a new CEO to play an active and vibrant role in our painstaking search for a new music director to replace Thierry Fischer, a process that begins in earnest in a few short weeks. Paul led us through a very smooth contract renewal with the musicians last year, enhanced educational outreach to students across the state, and was able to deliver a balanced budget every year he was here! And those are very significant achievements in this business. We wish Paul the very best”.
Mr. Meecham came to Utah after a successful tenure as president & CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2006-2016). In partnership with Music Director Marin Alsop, he led the orchestra in a series of commercial recordings and regular visits to Carnegie Hall, and launched nationally-renowned initiatives that furthered the BSO’s relevance within the community, including the ground-breaking inner-city schools program OrchKids, adult amateur participation programs such as ‘Rusty Musicians’ and the BSO Academy, and affordable ticket pricing that increased access and attendance.
As executive director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (2003-2006), Mr. Meecham piloted the first-ever Seattle Symphony national radio broadcast series and a series of commercial recordings of American music on the Naxos label. Prior, he was general manager of the San Francisco Symphony (1997-1999) and the New York Philharmonic (1999-2003), with whom he managed a busy national and international touring program, and secured the safe return of the orchestra to New York City after the orchestra was stranded in Germany on September 11, 2001. A native of the UK, his early career included positions at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and as managing director of the London Sinfonietta, a preeminent European 20th-century music orchestra.
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns access to world-class live performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh Music Director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks and last season’s Great American Road Trip, which also included Utah state parks and national monuments, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours—from Europe to Central and South America—and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, and recent releases include the first of a three-volume set of all five Saint-Saens symphonies on Hyperion Records in 2019, and on Reference Recordings, Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 8 (2015 and 2017, respectively) and Dawn to Dust (2016), which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra’s discography with former Music Director Maurice Abravanel includes not only the complete Mahler symphonies, but also premiere recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Rorem, Satie, Schuman, and Varèse.
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra’s parent organization, reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. In addition to performances in its home in Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall, and concerts throughout the state of Utah, the Utah Symphony participates in Utah Opera’s four annual productions at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and present the six-week Deer Valley® Music Festival each summer in Park City, Utah.
For more information about the orchestra, visit utahsymphony.org.