Chicago Sinfonietta’s Jim Hirsch looks back on sixteen-year tenure ending this spring

Posted on: June 3, 2020

“Last July, Chicago Sinfonietta CEO Jim Hirsch thought he knew exactly how his exit from the organization would proceed,” writes Howard Reich in Sunday’s (5/31) Chicago Tribune. “This month, he would stand onstage at Orchestra Hall for the Sinfonietta’s last concert of the season [after a] 16-year tenure at the helm. In June, he would attend the Sinfonietta’s gala…. The coronavirus, of course, changed all that… Hirsch … steps down from the CEO post July 1, when the newly appointed Blake-Anthony Johnson takes over…. In 2004, when he assumed the top administrative post … Hirsch immediately focused on fundraising, board recruitment and, perhaps most important, articulating to anyone who would listen what made the Sinfonietta unlike any orchestra in Chicago and, really, the country. ‘To me it was obvious even before I joined: It was the organization’s unique and important commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in classical music,’ explains Hirsch…. He and colleagues created Project Inclusion fellowship programs ‘to address the dearth of minority musicians playing in U.S. orchestras,’ as the Sinfonietta’s website puts it…. He’s interested in staying active in arts management, but ‘I’m ready to just life live at a slightly different pace,’ he says.”