Two VPs hired to steer orchestra operations

Posted: March 20, 2012

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has hired two people to take over aspects of the orchestra's operation.

As executive vice president for orchestra advancement, Ryan Fleur will have "organizational responsibility for all orchestra creative concert, touring and residency fulfillment, orchestra personnel, human resources, shared services (information technology and TicketPhiladelphia), and electronic media development," according to an orchestra statement.

Fleur, 40, president and chief executive officer of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra since 2003, also will be the primary link between the orchestra and such partners and venues as the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and Longwood Gardens.

Matthew Loden, 44, is the orchestra's new executive vice president for institutional advancement, overseeing public relations, marketing, and development, including the endowment campaign. He also will serve as liaison between the orchestra and the Kimmel Center. A violinist, he has been vice president and general manager of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2008.

Both new hires will report to president/chief executive officer Allison B. Vulgamore, whose contract with the association recently was renewed for a three-year term.

Said the orchestra in a prepared statement:

"The hiring of Mr. Fleur and Mr. Loden will allow Ms. Vulgamore to focus more time and attention on the strategic direction of the Philadelphia Orchestra, multiseason planning, and the organization's major fund-raising efforts. As the ensemble prepares to welcome Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its next music director, Ms. Vulgamore will also develop a '100-Year View' of the institution while keeping a keen eye turned toward attracting top-tier musical talent, supporting the board of directors, and continuing to cultivate a diverse and dynamic staff."

That's no misprint - a "100-Year View." But Vulgamore Monday said she doesn't mean it literally, but rather as "my expression of [the fact that] anything we do here has to have a legacy perspective. I think it's about retention and recruitment onstage and off, artistic direction and use of the ensemble itself. I just came back from London and work with managers to look at our season five and six seasons out" - speaking to Simon Rattle's agent and others.

"Museums I think are far ahead of us in managing generational perspective and what it's going to be like to engage the art form. I think it's important for the Philadelphia Orchestra to take a multigenerational perspective."

Loden and Fleur, who have both been active with the League of American Orchestras, will be in their new jobs by June 1, Vulgamore said, and will participate in reconfiguring the orchestra's strategic plan. She said their contracts do not necessitate approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, since they are not contracted employees or officers of the board.

Even with the new staffers, the Philadelphia Orchestra still has a much smaller front office than it did before several waves of cuts. "We're never coming back to where we were," said Vulgamore, who acknowledged the difficulty of attracting staff to an organization in Chapter 11. She said she had been in conversations with both prospects since around Thanksgiving. What did she say to recruit them?

"Number one, it's the Philadelphia Orchestra and there is no orchestra like it. This is a hero's journey to come and serve it."

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