The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has announced that President and CEO Andrew Birgensmith’s original contract has been extended for an additional five years. Birgensmith was chosen to lead the 85-year old symphony in July, 2011 after a decade with the Kansas City Symphony, where he was General Manager for eight seasons. The contract with the TSO will extend Birgensmith’s tenure as President and CEO through June, 2018.
Realizing the importance of paying the musicians more to keep the artistic level at its highest, one of Birgensmith’s first actions was to negotiate a new contract with the musicians that raised salaries and service counts. Since he took the helm, the TSO has introduced a new concert series in partnership with the Fox Tucson Theatre called TSO Rocks the Fox. The new series is aimed at attracting a new and younger audience. Other programming additions include expanding the Classics and MasterWorks Series, introducing a new master class series in collaboration with the University of Arizona School of Music and launching a radio series with Arizona Public Media’s Classical 90.5 to broadcast TSO performances. With an annual budget of $4 million, the TSO employs more than 75 professional musicians and infuses more than $20 million into the Southern Arizona economy each year.
“Andrew Birgensmith brings energy, creativity and vision to the TSO,” stated Barbara R. Levy, Chair, Board of Trustees. “His focus has brought the services of the Tucson Symphony to ever increasing audiences, highlighting the relevance of this vital arts organization to its community.”
Mr. Birgensmith attended Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia where he received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Trombone Performance. He later attended Florida State University for Arts Administration.
“My goal was to make a strong start with the TSO,” said Mr. Birgensmith. “I think we have achieved that and are in good shape to continue building this extraordinary orchestra for everyone in Tucson and Southern Arizona to enjoy and treasure.”
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will open its 85th season on October 4 and 6. Founded in 1929, the TSO is the first symphony orchestra in the Southwest and the longest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona. The TSO serves Tucson and Southern Arizona communities with performances and education programs of the highest caliber. More than 300 education and community engagement programs reach more than 60,000 children and adults annually. The concert season extends from October through April. Each concert season offers Classic, SuperPops! and MasterWorks Series and Specials, Moveable Musical Feasts and a series of free chamber ensemble performances for families entitled Just for Kids. In 2004, the TSO received the Governor’s Arts Award recognizing its 75 years of significant community impact.
The TSO is a 501 (c) (3) organization.