Peter Kjome, president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, will step down from his role at the end of his contract in January 2022, the orchestra announced on Monday.
Kjome, who began leading the orchestra group in 2017, called his time leading the BSO “a true privilege.”
“We have made important progress to help assure the BSO’s long-term strength and positive direction, and this progress has made this among the most significant periods in the BSO’s history,” Kjome said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to our Board of Directors for their leadership and support, and I greatly appreciate working together in collaboration with our exceptional musicians, superb management team, and Music Director Marin Alsop.”
Kjome added that he is proud of what he and his BSO colleagues have accomplished with community support, and he is now “ready for a new challenge.”
Since taking the helm of the BSO in 2017, Kjome has led the organization through an array of challenges and opportunities, including adapting musical programming for virtual audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic; the upcoming departure of longtime music director Marin Alsop, who will step down from her position later this year; and the signing of the first five-year contract agreement in two decades between the BSO organization and its musicians.
Kjome also helped re-establish the BSO’s international touring operations after a 13-year absence, which included the BSO’s debut at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival under Alsop’s direction.
In May, the BSO’s board of directors will launch its national search for Kjome’s replacement. Kjome will stay on as a consultant through the end of his contract “to ensure a seamless transition” once the board identifies a new leader for the organization, BSO officials said.
Board Chairman Barry Rosen praised Kjome for his leadership and said he was an “instrumental” piece of the BSO’s progress.
“Peter Kjome has made outstanding contributions during a time of important progress for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,” Rosen said in a statement. “The BSO is tied to the health and vibrancy of Baltimore and Maryland, and we appreciate the significant accomplishments that have been achieved during Peter’s tenure. Peter has been instrumental in our efforts to advance the BSO, but we understand his decision and will now begin the process of searching for his successor.”
Alsop said the future of the BSO is brighter because Kjome helped steer it toward success.
“I have appreciated collaborating with Peter Kjome, a musician himself with a deep love for symphonic music who is also an experienced Kellogg School of Management-educated business leader,” Alsop said in a statement. “Peter leaves the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a far stronger position than when he arrived. I am glad our journey together included the BSO’s successful debuts at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival.”
The BSO recently announced its 2021-2022 season, which will include in-person performances. And the return of Alsop as Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder. James Conlon will make his debut as the BSO’s artistic advisor, and the BSO will welcome a slate of “exceptional conductors” while the organization searches for its next music director.
Brian Prechtl, chair of the BSO players’ committee, said the BSO has undergone “an astonishing transformation” under Kjome.
“We’re working to move to a new paradigm, one of collaboration, in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” Prechtl said in a statement. “While we have faced significant challenges in the past, the remarkable turnaround we are in the midst of has been borne out of shared determination. Peter Kjome has been a major part of this success story. The Players’ Committee and I deeply appreciate his leadership.”
Michael Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, worked with Kjome and BSO stakeholders to develop a five-year strategic plan for the organization.
“It has been a pleasure collaborating with the BSO and, especially, with Peter Kjome over the past year,” Kaiser said in a statement. “The BSO has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround, no small thanks to Peter, who played such a central role in the success of the effort. He has left an indelible mark on the BSO.”
The orchestra secured $10 million in multi-year commitments to its philanthropic Transformation Fund, which will support the strategic plan.
The BSO also announced $48 million in collective commitments through its multi-year comprehensive Resounding Campaign “to help ensure the Orchestra’s visibility, relevance, and service in Baltimore, in Montgomery County, and across Maryland,” officials said.