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The San Diego Symphony has announced Martha Gilmer as the new Chief Executive Officer, to replace Edward Gill.

Ms. Gilmer inherits one of the healthiest symphonic organizations in the country, which is a testament to the leadership of Mr. Gill, the symphony board, and the generosity of the San Diego community.

Martha Gilmer

Ms. Gilmer arrives in San Diego via Chicago where she was the vice president of artistic planning and audience development of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Chicago Tribune has a full article.

The full press release is included below.:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Symphony, Chairman Shearn Platt is very pleased to announce MARTHA S. GILMER as the new Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Symphony. Gilmer’s contract, which begins on September 24, 2014, is for three years. In making this announcement, Shearn Platt stated, “We at the San Diego Symphony are delighted to appoint Martha S. Gilmer as our new CEO. She presently holds the Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair of Artistic Planning and Audience Development at the world renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. After several decades with that great Orchestra, Martha has shown herself to be a strong and creative leader. Her name in the music world is synonymous with great artistic vision, dynamic leadership, and audience development through original programming. As the San Diego Symphony is poised for a new era, we are certain that Martha is the right person to lead us in the years ahead. We look forward to welcoming her to our San Diego Symphony family.” Martha Gilmer said, “The San Diego Symphony has impressed me artistically and with its commitment to the San Diego community. The board leadership is passionate about music, and believes that the music and the musicians are at the core of the orchestra’s mission, which is critically important. In meeting board members, Music Director Jahja Ling, musicians, and staff leadership, I felt a shared passion and desire for continued artistic growth of this orchestra. After 35 wonderful years at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I look forward to a new challenge and to becoming a member of the San Diego Symphony family and of the cultural community of San Diego.” Music Director Jahja Ling stated, “We are very fortunate to have attracted Martha Gilmer to San Diego. Her excellent work in Chicago is internationally recognized, and her commitment to music is strong and proven. I look forward to welcoming Martha as the new CEO of the San Diego Symphony.”

MARTHA GILMER background

Martha Gilmer has been a major force with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the last 35 years, working under three music directors (Solti, Barenboim and Muti) and with countless pre-eminent guest conductors and soloists. In her evolving role at the CSO, Martha has overseen the orchestra’s artistic planning, education programs, professional chorus, Symphony Center Presents (a presentation series including visiting orchestras, chamber music, recitals, jazz and world music), and the Civic Orchestra (training orchestra of the CSO). In her current capacity as Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Development, she has developed collaborative work with other Chicago institutions, Beyond the Score (which is currently being licensed to other orchestras), Classic Encounters, Music Now, and the oversight of an annual three week CSO festival. Martha Gilmer also has been the producer of countless concert and semi-staged CSO operatic performances. She has accompanied the CSO on tours around the world. Martha is a well-known writer and lecturer on music, culture and community, and has made presentations at such places as the Aspen Ideas Festival, among others. In June 2012, Martha Gilmer’s position at the CSO was endowed as The Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair -VP Artistic Planning and Audience Development, a first in the music world according to Musical America.


During the San Diego Symphony’s 104-year history, there have been many milestones. Among the most recent was the San Diego Symphony’s sold-out debut performance at Carnegie Hall on October 29, 2013, led by Jahja Ling. Immediately following in November 2013, the San Diego Symphony embarked on a Friendship Tour of Beijing, Shanghai and Yantai (San Diego’s sister city), China. Close to home, the Symphony performs more than 140 concerts and community outreach programs annually throughout San Diego County.

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