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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Feb. 2, 2016) — Dave Petersen, Chair of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) Board of Trustees, has announced the appointment of Paul Meecham as Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s next president and CEO. Mr. Meecham is currently the president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and will begin his new role on July 1, 2016. He succeeds Patricia A. Richards, who has served as USUO’s interim president and CEO since the departure of Melia P. Tourangeau last spring.

“After a thorough national search, we are thrilled to welcome Paul to Utah Symphony | Utah Opera as our next president and CEO,” said Dave Petersen. “Paul brings a wonderful blend of experience, innovation, vision and leadership.  The entire search committee agreed that he was the right leader for our organization and community at this time, and we extend the warmest welcome to Paul, his wife Laura and their family as they make Utah their new home.”

“It is with great enthusiasm that I accept the offer to lead Utah Symphony | Utah Opera as its president and chief executive officer,” said Mr. Meecham, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music from University of Birmingham, England, and plays both piano and violin. “Having admired for some time the artistic and institutional growth of this unique organization, I am incredibly excited about its future potential and the opportunity to work with its forward-thinking artistic leaders, Thierry Fischer and Christopher McBeth, the committed board of trustees as well as the many talented musicians, staff, volunteers and supporters. Their shared ambition for the next exciting phase of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is very compelling.”

Mr. Meecham has served more than 20 years in executive management roles at the London Sinfonetta, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Seattle Symphony. In 2006, he became president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Following a period of significant financial instability, he immediately restored the BSO’s fiscal confidence with consecutive balanced budgets and, in close partnership with music director Marin Alsop, led the BSO in pursuing innovative strategies to redefine the role of the American orchestra in the 21st century. Initiatives included the ground-breaking inner-city schools program “OrchKids”, the “BSO Academy” and “Rusty Musicians” adult amateur musician participation programs and audience development strategies that have increased access and attendance. During his tenure, the BSO boasted a regular presence at Carnegie Hall, resumed touring, and issued several commercial recordings with Ms. Alsop on the Naxos label.

As executive director for the Seattle Symphony orchestra, Mr. Meecham launched the first-ever Seattle Symphony national radio broadcast series and a compilation of commercial recordings of American music on the Naxos label. He increased the organization’s commitment to family programming and community outreach, and worked closely with Gerard Schwarz on the orchestra’s two highly-acclaimed “Made in America” festivals.

Thierry Fischer, music director for the Utah Symphony stated: “I am so excited to welcome Paul Meecham to Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. I knew from the first moment we met that Paul was exactly the kind of partner I’ve been hoping for as we continue to grow as an institution. The timing could not be more perfect. His vast experience as a leader in our industry is a spot on match for our artistic ambitions, and I know he understands how important it is that we maintain our momentum. I do think it is wonderful that our progress has brought us to a place where someone of Paul’s caliber simply could not say no to this opportunity. It is further proof that we are on the right path and that great things lie ahead!”

Christopher McBeth, artistic director for Utah Opera, shared: “At a time when the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera are poised for growth and a move to the next level, I couldn’t be more pleased than with the knowledge that Paul will join the company. With his extensive experience and personal love of both art forms, our board has found the exact right person for our organization’s future. I look forward to working closely with Paul to create and present exciting opera projects for our community. The future is truly bright.”

As president and CEO of USUO, Mr. Meecham will lead the largest arts organization in the Intermountain West. The Utah Symphony, one of fifteen 52-week orchestras in the United States, performs more than 175 concerts each season. Utah Opera mounts four full-scale opera productions each year in addition to creating sets and costumes for companies throughout North America at its state-of-the-art Production Studios in Salt Lake City. The organization also produces the summer Deer Valley® Music Festival in Park City, Utah and an extensive state-wide music education program that is considered one of the most robust in the nation. In addition to the 85 full-time, professional musicians in the Utah Symphony, USUO employs 65 staff members, the Utah Symphony Chorus, and the Utah Opera Chorus.

“For some time I have admired the artistic and institutional growth of this unique organization – a combined opera company and symphony orchestra recognized nationally as leaders in artistic excellence, community service, statewide educational outreach and creative innovation, with a young but already well-established summer music festival in Park City,” said Mr. Meecham.

Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras stated: “Paul Meecham brings deep knowledge and experience of the art and business of orchestras. His strong record of accomplishment in major orchestras has earned him the admiration and respect of his colleagues nationwide. Paul has been a national leader having served as chairman of the large budget orchestra CEO’s group, as well as being a member of the Board of Directors of the League.  His refined musical sensibility combined with his disciplined and inspirational leadership makes him ideally suited for USUO.”


About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera connects Utah communities through great live music, serving as the premier local provider of orchestral and operatic art forms. The Utah Symphony, which performs at Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall and is led by Music Director Thierry Fischer, is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including most recently the Mighty 5® tour of Southern Utah’s National Parks, it has embarked on seven international tours and will perform at Carnegie Hall in spring 2016 coinciding with its 75th anniversary celebrations. Since 1978, Utah Opera has provided Utah’s citizens with distinguished productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition. USUO reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region through its performances and educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. The organization employs 65 staff and 85 full-time musicians and presents four full operas and more than 175 symphony performances in each season throughout Utah and an annual summer festival – the Deer Valley® Music Festival – in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit

75th Anniversary Signature Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

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