Longtime Boston Symphony CEO Mark Volpe on past, present, and future of orchestras

Posted on: June 23, 2021

“Mark Volpe grew up steeped in classical music, the son of a trumpet player in the Minnesota Orchestra,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Monday’s (6/21) New York Times. “Volpe, 63, went on to become one of music’s most powerful figures, eventually leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra as president and chief executive—a post he leaves this month after 23 years…. When, in January 2020, he announced his plans to retire, Volpe expected a relatively quiet end to his career, which also included stints in Detroit, Baltimore and Minneapolis. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.” Volpe: “The ramifications of the pandemic are here for the foreseeable future—for years, if not decades…. [On diversity and inclusion:] The reality is this is no longer a Eurocentric country. Demographics are fundamentally changing. We have to be responsive to that. Programmatically, we’ve been institutionally remiss. I think the industry’s been remiss. We are farther along in terms of gender—since I’ve been here, we’ve commissioned 33 women composers. But I think in terms of people of color, we need to do more…. We have to do a much better job of engaging more people.”