BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mark Hanson as its new President and CEO.

Hanson most recently served as President and CEO of the San Francisco Symphony, and previously led the Houston and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. He’ll be leading the BSO’s strategy and guiding the search for its next Music Director.

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“It’s a great honor to step into this role with a storied institution like the BSO and help write its next chapter,” Hanson said. “I look forward to working with stakeholders across Maryland and beyond to create a culture of excellence, collaboration, and inclusion. This will include partnering with both internal and external constituents to identify, recruit and support a new music director equally committed to inclusive programming, broad audience engagement, statewide service, and next-generation talent development.”

At the SFS, Hanson oversaw consecutive balanced budgets and continued revenue growth and negotiated a four-year contract with musicians. He also led a comprehensive rebranding and the launch of a streaming service there.

Hanson also enrolled the SFS as a member of the National Alliance for Audition Support, which is a national initiative to increase diversity in American orchestras.

Hanson stepped down abruptly from his position at the SFS in 2021, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He never gave a specific reason for the decision.

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During his seven years in Houston, the BSO said Hanson “demonstrated a deep personal commitment to the principles of equity and inclusion.” There, Hanson led the creation of a Community-Embedded Musician program, a Citywide Grassroots Chorus, and the formation of councils to better connect with Houston’s diverse community.

Hanson is particularly well suited to find the BSO’s next Music Director as he led multi-year, international Music Director searches at the Milwaukee, Houston, and San Francisco symphonies.

At the BSO, Hanson will be tasked with identifying new ways for the BSO to expand its reach while building on its existing momentum. He’ll also work to deepen the orchestra’s connection with audiences and the community.

“The BSO has made significant progress in its transformational journey, but still faces challenges in returning from the pandemic,” said search committee member and Vice Chair of the Board Christian Johansson. “Mark’s dedication and talent for repositioning American orchestras to increase relevancy, representation, and impact—along with his demonstrated leadership with a multitude of complex arts organizations—has proven he can tackle challenges head-on and lead a diverse array of partners to success around a common goal.”

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CBS Baltimore Staff