New boss confirmed at San Fran Symphony

New boss confirmed at San Fran Symphony


norman lebrecht

September 22, 2022

The orchestra has been under interim management since Mark Hanson walked out in July 2021 for no stated reason.

Chief programming officer Matthew Spivey stepped in as interim CEO.

Last night he was confirmed in the job, to general murmurs of approval.

‘Our committee was impressed by Matt’s thoughtful leadership, integrity, strategic mindset, and incredible work ethic,’ said Board chair Priscilla Geeslin. ‘He’s also proven a deep personal commitment to furthering the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work, making it an integral part of the Symphony’s day-to-day activities. It is these invaluable qualities that make him such an incredible partner to me and the board and will help guide the Symphony into a bright future.’

Esa-Pekka likes him, too. “Matt Spivey is in it for the music—it’s as simple as that,” said Esa-Pekka Salonen. “He’s a leader who appreciates the history of our art form and wants to be part of its future. He spends the time to build consensus across the organization because he knows our San Francisco Symphony is stronger as ‘us’ than ‘I.’ Where others react, he pre-acts. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Matt in many capacities since I started as Music Director, and I know the future with him in this position is bright. Let’s get to work.”


  • Guest123 says:

    Excellent choice. I have nothing but respect for Matt. He has the fortitude to take on the job permanently.

  • John Gingrich says:

    No pretense to objectivity here: Bravo, bravo.

  • Judy says:

    Congratulations to Matt – he will continue to do wonderful things there!

  • tbirdfrank2 says:

    Never shall San Francisco be called San Fran. Especially when it’s Symphony is being discussed. It’s insulting and you should know better.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Hey, it’s better than “Frisco”! I’ve lived in the Bay Area pretty much my entire entire life, including S.F., and I’ve never known anyone to get hot under the collar over “San Fran.”

  • LalaS says:

    I worked with Matt in Baltimore, and admire him greatly. “In it for the music” is accurate, but also he evidences genuine respect and sensitivity to people and performance issues. SF is lucky to have him.