a fresh, new tune

Houston Symphony's newly named CEO garners a chorus of praise

Houston Symphony's newly named CEO garners a chorus of praise

John Mangum, Houston Symphony CEO
John Mangum takes his post as the CEO of the Houston Symphony on April 16, 2018. Photo by Drew Kelley

California’s loss becomes our gain, as the Houston Symphony has named its new executive director/chief executive officer. John Mangum will bring his nearly two decades of arts administration experience to Houston, and takes up the (figurative) executive baton on April 16.

Mangum, who earned a Ph.D. in history with a concentration in musicology from the University of California, most recently served as the president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. He was director of artistic planning with the San Francisco Symphony from 2011 to 2014, and held a similar position at the New York Philharmonic from 2009 to 2011.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the Houston Symphony at a time when the organization is boldly looking to the future and charting a dynamic course for what an orchestra can be in the twenty-first century,” says Mangum, in a press statement.

The search for the Symphony’s top executive began six months ago, after the pervious CEO, Mark Hanson, left for the San Francisco Symphony. So, perhaps California owed Houston a stellar replacement.

“As a seasoned industry professional with an impressive background in orchestra management and fundraising, John has led some innovative artistic initiatives and has accomplished important milestones in some of the country’s largest markets,” says Janet F. Clark, Houston Symphony Board President. “We welcome John during this important time and look forward to raising our artistic excellence and community relevance under his leadership and creative vision.”

Adding to the chorus of praise for the new CEO, Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada lauds Mangum’s “enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge he brings from his years of experience with other great orchestras.”

“I am particularly excited about collaborating with him as the Houston Symphony continues to realize the artistic vision we have been working so hard to achieve,” Orozco-Estrada notes.

The executive director position calls for Mangum to work closely with Clark and Orozco-Estrada to manage an annual operating budget of $34 million, and direct the activities of the Houston Symphony, its 77 staff members, and 88 full-time professional musicians.

Mangum will also likely aid in bringing to fruition the symphony’s vision to become America’s most relevant and accessible top 10 orchestra by 2025.