Toronto’s swift departure leaves a gaping hole

Toronto’s swift departure leaves a gaping hole


norman lebrecht

March 30, 2016

The Toronto Symphony are at pains to point out that Jeff Melanson was not fired this morning. The president and CEO departed by mutual consent, with immediate effect.

Melanson’s turbulent management style and private life ensured him a stream of unsought media coverage. Although the TSO sought to depict Melanson as a vibrant young innovator, ghosts from his past and present kept intruding into the working day. The orchestra is making no comment whatsoever about the cause of his peremptory departure.

He leaves, however, a big hole. Melanson is the author of the orch’s new strategy. His successor will need to implement it, if workable.

The TSO Board of Directors has formed an executive search committee to identify a new CEO. In the meantime, board member Sonia Baxendale will act as interim CEO.

There is one obvious Canadian candidate with outstanding experience, but he won’t be free for at least a year.

Long wait. Big gap.

toronto symphony

That said, there is a palpable sense of relief at the TSO at the restoration of calm normality. And Jeff Melanson will be off to rebuild his career, somewhere far away from classical music and potato chips.


  • Eddie Mars says:

    Sure, sure, the philandering abusive useless douchebag ‘wasn’t fired’

    • V.Lind says:

      Agreed. People who leave by “mutual consent” generally announce the fact in advance of departure.

      Wonder who the “obvious Canadian candidate” with a year’s indentured servitude left somewhere else is? I can actually think of several able and talented possibilities, none of whom have, as far as I know, given notice to their orchestras or organisations but at least one of whom may be on a year-to-year.

  • JanS says:

    It’s probably good for the future of the orchestra. Tso has been sounding better and better when they are lucky to have a good conductor. I hope the new CEO can push tso into the successful orchestra it deserves to be

  • Doug says:

    Please dispense with the sexual innuendo. That’s just sick: “gaping hole”.

    Hey, I hear Prime Minister Shiny Pony is hiring! Maybe Melanson can be ambassador to Outer Mongolia.

  • Sakrah says:

    So glad this pompous douchebag is gone. Better days are ahead…….

  • Andy says:

    “somewhere far away from classical music and potato chips”

    Best laugh of the week!


  • Interested Bystander says:

    Good riddance. Jeff Melanson is the Jian Ghomeshi of the fine arts world. At least the board had the balls to do this.

    But an MD search and a CEO search at the same time? It could work… I guess.