Grand Rapids Symphony’s Peter Kjome appointed as Baltimore Symphony President and CEO

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI, December 6, 2016 – Grand Rapids Symphony President and CEO Peter Kjome, who has led the orchestra through its international search for a new Music Director as well as to the successful conclusion of its $40 million Legacy of Excellence Campaign, has been named the new President and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Kjome, age 49, begins work on Feb. 1 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, one of the 20 largest orchestras in the United States.

In all, Kjome has been with the Grand Rapids Symphony for 16 years – eight years as a musician from 1990 to 1998, and as President for the past eight years.

“Our community was delighted when Peter returned to the Grand Rapids Symphony as President in 2008, and his leadership provides a strong foundation for our next President,” said GRS Board Chairperson Kate Pew Wolters. “The Symphony Board has begun to prepare for the search process, and we will share more information as the process moves forward. We are confident that we will find an outstanding individual who will lead our great orchestra into the future.”

Kjome leaves an orchestra with an impressive list of accomplishments. The Symphony has reached several multi-year collective bargaining agreements with its musicians, including a five-year agreement signed in 2016.

“As we announced in May 2016, our Board approved a new five-year plan to attract new audiences, to serve an increasingly diverse community, and to further strengthen the orchestra’s financial position,” Wolters said. “The Symphony is well positioned for the future.”

It’s a natural time for new leadership for the Grand Rapids Symphony as well as for Kjome to take up new challenges. A strong leadership team is in place, and the orchestra is pursuing its new strategic plan. 

“The leadership of our Board, musicians, staff, and visionary community leaders have helped the Symphony to sustain and advance the work of our superb musicians and the orchestra’s broad range of programs,” said Kjome. “Eight years ago, we set out a number of ambitious goals, including continuing to elevate artistic excellence, expanding our education programs, and launching and completing an endowment campaign. With the support of our community, we have made great progress. The Symphony is ready to move forward toward a bright future with new leadership.”

An important part of Kjome’s legacy is the appointment in June of Marcelo Lehninger as Music Director with a five-year contract.

“I am happy for Peter and congratulate him on his appointment as the President of the Baltimore Symphony,” Lehninger said. “It is wonderful that Peter has continued to lead the GRS during this time of transition.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony currently has a 40-week season and employs 80 musicians both full- and part-time. With an annual budget of over $9 million, the orchestra touches the lives of some 200,000 per year.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is a 52-week orchestra with a budget that exceeds $27 million. The BSO, which celebrates its Centennial in 2016, reaches over 350,000 people per year.

Both orchestras made history by appointing women as music director. In 1986 in Grand Rapids, Catherine Comet was appointed as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Twenty years later in Baltimore, Marin Alsop became the first woman appointed to lead a major American orchestra.

“I will conclude my tenure in Grand Rapids with a spirit of gratitude for the wonderful support of many people in our community who care deeply about our Symphony,” Kjome said. “It has been a tremendous inspiration to work with our Board, musicians, staff, and visionary community leaders like Richard and Helen DeVos as we continue to develop our extraordinary orchestra. I know that my work here has prepared me to contribute as I begin the next chapter of my career.”

To co-chair the Symphony’s presidential search committee, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Board of Directors has named its Chairperson Elect Charles Frayer and its Vice Chairperson Mary Tuuk to lead the search. Tuuk also co-chaired the recent Music Director Search Committee that selected Marcelo Lehninger to recommend to the full Board for appointment as Music Director. Charles Frayer is Office Managing Partner with Crowe Horwath LLP, and Mary Tuuk is Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer with Meijer, Inc 


About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2017.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the website or

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