“After a five-month nationwide search, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday that it has found its new CEO and president,” reports Cathalena E. Burch in Friday’s (8/22) Arizona Daily Star. “The orchestra hired Mark Blakeman, chief operating officer of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Blakeman will introduce himself at the Tucson orchestra’s 86th season opener Sept. 26. He is expected to wind down his tenure in Tennessee this fall before joining the TSO full time by Dec. 1, said Bonnie Kampa, newly named chairwoman of the TSO Board of Trustees. … Blakeman, 45, replaces Andrew Birgensmith, who abruptly resigned last March after less than three years on the job. … ‘Mark has been through some really challenging situations and he really understands how to think quickly and make decisions,’ said his boss, Nashville Symphony CEO and President Alan Valentine. ‘You guys hired a rock star. He’s been my right arm, my left arm and both legs the last 15 years.’ … Kampa said that among Blakeman’s most pressing priorities in his first season is to hire a replacement for Conductor/Music Director George Hanson, who will leave the orchestra after this season, his 20th in Tucson.”

Posted August 22, 2014