Toronto Symphony stages year-end putsch

Toronto Symphony stages year-end putsch


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2016

The Toronto Symphony has cleared out almost half its board, including the chairman Richard Philips and vice-chair Blake Goldring. In all eight board members have gone out of 19, and they include Sonia Baxendale, who acted as CEO after the abrupt departure of the high-spending Jeff Melanson. Philips was chair for six years.

The new chair is Catherine Beck, who joined the board just months ago. She is a successful industrialist and the daughter of H. Thomas Beck, who chaired the TSO in 1981-83.

The press release of the changes was issued at 1630 local on Friday in an attempt to bury the news.

Local media are struggling with the story. Our information is that it’s an overdue reckoning for the reckless choice of the discredited Melanson and the huge bills he ran up. Beck knows the TSO inside out and is considered a smart appointment, a chair who will support CEO Gary Hanson in his efforts to get the Symphony back onto an even keel.



  • Love from Afar says:

    This is what I have heard as well. Hansen knows what he’s doing – and with a CEO search, MD search and probably contract negotiations with the musicians coming up, he needs 100% board support, not sideline sniping from know nothing dilettantes who think their wallet size validates bullying behavior and wrong headed advice.

    Philips I believe was only chair for a year.

    Anyway, Hansen has a massive job on his hands and Beck has the means and connections the TSO needs.

  • David Hyslop says:

    Gary Hanson is a huge talent and will be a big help and the Toronto Symphony needs the leadership.