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New Leadership for the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Chad Smith, standing next to a staircase at Symphony Hall
Kayana Szymczak
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Chad Smith

The BSO has announced that Chad Smith will be the organization's next President and CEO.

Smith is currently the Chief Executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he has held for the last four years. Previously, he was that orchestra's Chief Operating Officer, overseeing artistic programming, marketing, communications, production, orchestra operations, media, and learning initiatives. He joined the LA Phil in 2002 as a programmer for the organization's Green Umbrella series for new music and for its Hollywood Bowl concerts. He began his arts administration career at the New World Symphony in 2000.

Smith succeeds Jeffrey Dunn, interim CEO since January 2023, and Gail Samuel, whose departure in December 2022 after only 18 months with the BSO caused shockwaves through the orchestra world.

In a statement, John Loder, Vice Chair of the BSO’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, said, "Chad is an extraordinarily accomplished executive with a track record of unrivaled success at producing environments where orchestras thrive, audiences experience orchestral music in both traditional and non-traditional ways, and one-of-a-kind partnerships flourish. A tested leader with deep experience in all aspects of orchestral administration, and a conservatory-trained classical musician, Chad possesses a singular ability to balance new programming initiatives with the critical preservation of artistic tradition at the highest level. The BSO has a long history of setting standards for the entire orchestral field, and Chad brings to the BSO a demonstrated commitment to sustaining excellence and increasing impact."

BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons said in a statement, "All of us at the Boston Symphony Orchestra—musicians, staff, and Board of Trustees and Advisors—warmly welcome Chad Smith to the BSO family this fall as President and CEO. We look forward to partnering with Chad to move the organization into a bright and promising future, where we will continue to treasure our rich legacy of achievement while embracing our mission to grow and evolve for our communities here in Boston, the Berkshires, and throughout the world."

For his part, Smith said in a statement, "I see endless opportunity to support and grow those things which make the BSO so very special, impactful in Boston, and revered around the world—from the Orchestra’s long standing prominence in the legendary Symphony Hall, to the beloved Boston Pops, the Tanglewood festival, the Tanglewood Learning Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where I was a student for two summers. Undoubtedly, the Orchestra thrives at the center of it all—a cultural jewel for the city, as well as the arts community locally and beyond. Throughout my career I have been fortunate to partner with three extraordinary artistic directors, and one of the things I love most about these collaborations is the opportunity to empower creative artists to do their very best work. I look forward to partnering with BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, the brilliant players, the dedicated staff, and the Board of Trustees to keep building on one of the most storied legacies in music. I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees for entrusting me with this tremendous honor."

The appointment marks Smith's return to Boston, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music and an undergraduate degree in history at Tufts University.

For more about this appointment, visit the Boston Symphony Orchestra.