Skip to content
We have updated our Privacy Policy to clarify our usage of SMS communications
BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos
March 13, 2024

Staff Spotlight: Jesse Needleman

By Donna Noyes-Grosser

Jesse Needleman’s role with the BSO is as impressive as his job title sounds. As Vice President, Marketing, Sales & Communications, Jesse oversees many of the public-facing aspects of the organization, including marketing and public relations, the Box Office and ticket sales, Front of House, Retail, and customer/patron relations. Jesse and his team (whom he is quick to describe as a dedicated and talented group) work hard to ensure that audiences and patrons have the best possible experience with the BSO across the full range of offerings at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood.

When we talked, Jesse noted that a key part of his job is developing communication strategies that promote positive public perceptions and an understanding of the diverse musical and educational opportunities under the auspices of the BSO. In today’s environment, this entails working with the full spectrum of traditional and digital media outlets. Important goals in the communications arena are to promote personal and emotional connections with the BSO among its patrons and the public and foster a deeper experience with the organization. For patrons who regularly enjoy attending BSO concerts at Symphony Hall, for example, this might include ways to pique their interest in Boston Pops performances and summer trips to Tanglewood. Building deeper relationships among audiences and the BSO helps to boost ticket sales and generate interest to support the organization by becoming patrons or donors.

Recently, the BSO has been engaged in a rebranding project and Jesse has been a leader in that effort. He enjoys working on rebranding initiatives for well-loved organizations such as the BSO where there are opportunities to grow the brand. Jesse explained rebranding as finding improved approaches to effectively communicate what organizations do in a way that resonates personally with customers and captures them emotionally. As part of the rebranding initiative, the BSO has conducted extensive research, including many rounds of focused discussions with patrons and potential audiences. What emerged through this process was a vision of the BSO as a living, breathing organization with an amazing legacy: “the BSO is rooted in tradition and infused with modernity”, continually drawing on its own legacy and the legacy of classical music, while also innovating through commissions, performances of new music, and fostering young artists. This theme helped inform the details of the rebranding, even down to the type of font selected for the logos (a simplified serif style font that is both contemporary yet rooted in tradition). The reimagined logos for the Symphony, Pops, and Tanglewood are designed as a family of logos while conveying the unique role of each in the BSO.

Professional Background

Jesse is a native of Boston’s greater metropolitan area, growing up in Needham and Cambridge, and attending college in Cambridge. As early as middle school, he knew he wanted a career in business, reading business week magazine and investing in stocks (an early investment was Lotus). He joined the investment club in high school and studied economics in college, developing an interest in marketing, which blends many aspects of business with consumer psychology. In his first job out of college as a strategy consultant, which included projects at DIRECTV and The Boston Globe, he realized his interest is in industries with products enjoyable to customers. He continued his professional career after business school at The TJX Companies (T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods brands), where he rotated around the company and had many varied professional experiences during his fifteen years there.

Late in 2019, the job opening with the BSO presented Jesse with a unique opportunity to combine his personal love of music with his professional interests in business. Jesse plays the trumpet and piano and grew up going to concerts at Symphony Hall with his family. He applied for the job and completed the interview process in February of 2020. His first day on the job with the BSO was March 16, 2020 – just before offices and entertainment venues across the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of his time during the pandemic was spent working from home with senior BSO leadership to determine a path forward for the organization.

Personal Interests

Jesse loves to travel and has been to many countries, with 15 repeat visits to Italy. Recently, he visited Nepal, which he described as mostly a cultural trip with diverse experiences. His travels have also taken him to East Asia and India, trips that were inspired by his wellness orientation and interests in yoga and meditation. Jesse loves hiking, skiing, running, swimming – anything that keeps him active and on the move. He shared that he is a “live music junkie” and a favorite part of his job is helping with the selection of musicians for the popular artist series. A fun fact: BSO volunteer Peter Geller, who spends time volunteering in retail, is a retired dentist and was trained by Jesse’s dad. Jesse said it was a nice surprise and always fun to meet up with Peter when he’s volunteering.