San Diego Symphony’s new CEO, on a mission to lower barriers for classical music

Posted on: October 7, 2014

In Sunday’s (10/5) San Diego Union-Tribune, James Chute writes about Martha Gilmer, who began her tenure as San Diego Symphony’s CEO on September 24. Gilmer states that she remembers a student named Jeff who was “blown away” by a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 when she was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s vice president of artistic planning and audience development. The student attended as part of the CSO’s “Classic Encounter” program, “one of several innovative projects she developed to bring new audiences in contact with classical music.… Gilmer doesn’t like to talk about the rest of the story. A man in the next box looked over at Jeff and snidely remarked, ‘Maybe next time you’ll wear one of these,’ and he flicked his tie. ‘That’s what I mean about barriers,’ Gilmer said. ‘We have to get past that, because it’s not where you come from and it’s not what you wear.’ … Gilmer is looking forward to conversations with community members, musicians, the board, the staff and other cultural leaders as she helps formulate the San Diego Symphony’s dream. But you can be certain that at its core, it will involve people like Jeff, people for whom a whole new world is just a Mahler symphony away.”

Posted October 7, 2014