The Board of Trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra accepted the resignation of Gail Samuel, who announced today that she is stepping down as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Samuel joined the BSO in June 2021, as the organization was staging a decisive return from COVID-19 closures and cancellations during an unprecedented time in its history. Working closely with the Board, Samuel developed and implemented re-opening campaigns for each of the BSO's premier venues, Tanglewood and Symphony Hall, helping to usher in the return of live audiences and spectacular seasons of performance, with the orchestra achieving critical acclaim. During her tenure, she prioritized engaging broadly across the Boston community and making the BSO a more welcoming place for all, both on- and off-stage. These efforts included launching the Stephen and Susan Paine Resident Fellows, composers speaking from the stage about their works, a spring series of concerts around issues of social justice, and concerts outside of Symphony Hall. Simultaneously, she effectively stabilized the institution's operating budget and strengthened its financial standing.
"Gail came to the BSO as we were beginning to chart a critical course through the very consequential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Barbara Hostetter, Chair, Board of Trustees, Boston Symphony Orchestra. "At a time when stabilizing the institution was of paramount priority, Gail was a steadying force. She also led the BSO through a vital turning point of generational change, setting in motion a creative vision that reflects the BSO's commitment to diversity. As a result of her expertise, broad lens and hard work, the BSO is well positioned to continue with this important progress. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I express my gratitude to Gail and our entire executive team."
"It was an honor to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the world's most celebrated orchestras, particularly during such a significant time in history," Samuel said. "When I arrived at the BSO, I was dedicated to re-opening Tanglewood and Symphony Hall, and to increasing creativity at the BSO by welcoming artists to our stages more broadly representing the rich diversity that exists in our city. After navigating the profoundly complicated re-opening matters and having successfully laid the groundwork for continued evolution at the BSO, I have decided to step down. The end of the season and Holiday Pops performances offer a natural time with limited disruption. I hold great pride in all that was accomplished during such a challenging time for the arts and culture sector. I am confident that the work I have done and the tools we put in place will enable future growth and diversity and enrich the BSO's rich legacy of artistry. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees, the Boston arts and cultural community, and the BSO's players and staff for the opportunity to positively impact this wonderful institution."
Samuel's tenure will conclude on January 3, 2023. She has graciously agreed to provide transition assistance and consulting to the Board as it seeks a successor. The Board of Trustees will discuss plans to begin a search for a new President and Chief Executive Officer at their January 2023 board meeting.
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