Houston Matters

Houston Symphony’s New CEO Excited About Future

After a six-month national search, the orchestra has filled one of its top leadership positions. In an interview, the newly-appointed Executive Director/CEO reveals ideas, potential future plans.


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John Mangum will begin his position as the Houston Symphony’s Executive Director/CEO on April 16, 2018.

"I feel like the Houston Symphony is at a great moment in its history. It's focused intensely on the future," said John Mangum, who has been appointed to the Houston Symphony’s Margaret Alkek Williams Executive Director/CEO Chair.

Mangum cited the orchestra's high level of music-making, strong partnership with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and Houston's world-class arts scene as factors that attracted him to the position.

"Everything that's happening here is happening at the highest level, so ... as an arts lover myself that's very attractive," said Mangum. "Houston is an incredible city. This is a place where we can really look at the vibrancy of the orchestra and make it resonate with the community even more than it already does."

Mangum hopes to explore how the orchestra can stay relevant to the community in the 21st century and reach more people, in part by creating more points of entry into the art form — whether through social media, audience interaction, or multi-media presentations.

"You know, always questioning what is the next step in the concert experience, how can the concert experience evolve to serve today's audiences."

The 19-year veteran arts administrator has held top leadership positions with the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and most recently the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, where he served as President and Artistic Director.

At the Houston Symphony, he will manage the orchestra's activities, its annual operating budget of $34 million, and its 77 staff members and 88 full-time musicians.

Among possible goals for the future, Mangum noted that he would like to see the orchestra embark on adventurous projects that garner local attention and beyond, including video and recording projects.

"I think that a good measure of success would be that the Symphony's profile here in Houston, profile nationally, profile internationally [be] as high as possible."

Mangum begins his new role as Executive Director/CEO on April 16, 2018. He succeeds Mark Hanson, who stepped down in July 2017. Amanda Dinitz, who has been serving as Interim Executive Director, will continue in her previous role as Chief of Strategic Initiatives.

Listen to the complete interview with John Mangum below:


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Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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