Boston Symphony’s Gail Samuel on tackling multiple challenges, ushering in change

Posted on: August 8, 2022

Boston Symphony Orchestra president and CEO Gail Samuel in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Photo: Ken Richardson

“Confronting the challenge of wooing listeners back to concerts, widening the audience by appealing to multi-generational groups, and pushing an often-insular industry perceived as elitist by some into diversity and inclusion on stage and in the choice of repertoire,” writes Clarence Fanto in Friday’s (8/4) Berkshire Eagle (MA). “That’s the goal of Gail Samuel—the first woman to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra—in her second year as the president/CEO. [At Tanglewood this summer] there’s music by living American and international composers, especially women and African-Americans, on virtually every concert program. Samuel, 54, was appointed in February 2021…. A clear sign of Samuel’s major priorities is the recent appointment of Sandra St. Fleur Wright in the newly created position of vice president of talent and equity. ‘Sandra’s appointment not only reflects a modern evolution of our human resources function,’ said Samuel, ‘but also signifies our deep commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion across the BSO. We want to ensure that every person, regardless of their individual background or circumstances, feels welcomed at the BSO.’ ” In a Q&A, Samuel speaks about her top priorities for the BSO and the pandemic-era challenge of bringing audiences back.