Phoenix Symphony artistic, administrative leaders extend tenure

Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz. (Submitted photo)

Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz and President/CEO Jim Ward have both agreed to separate multi-year contract extensions, according to Dr. Oliver Harper, chair of The Phoenix Symphony Association.

“It is an honor for the board of directors and for this community that our talented leadership duo at The Phoenix Symphony have recommitted to this incredible organization and the continued development of our cultural economy,” Dr. Harper said in a release.

“Tenures among leaders at cultural institutions are often short with high turnover, which can be detrimental to the organization and the community. We are lucky to have these strong leaders commit to the symphony and our community, offering stability and leadership well into the next decade,” he said.

Jim Ward

Mr. Ward came on board in 2010 originally as a volunteer consultant, then interim CEO, and for the past seven years as the president and CEO of The Phoenix Symphony.

“Jim faced an organization on the brink of bankruptcy but quickly stabilized the organization, kicked off a music director search and refocused the symphony’s community impact with groundbreaking programs like Mind Over Music and B-Sharp Alzheimer’s research, A W.O.N.D.E.R. Project,” according to the release.

“As our 70th Anniversary tagline says, ‘We are just getting warmed up,’” Mr. Ward said in the release.

“We have a vision for a symphony reimagined that delivers a premiere arts organization that is a reason people want to live, work and raise a family in the greater Phoenix area,” he said.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community and orchestra, and I am incredibly proud of all that the musicians, staff, board and volunteers have done for this organization. We have accomplished a lot but we are not done yet and have a lot to do to fulfill our mission,” Mr. Ward said in the release.

Mr. Muñoz is currently finishing his fourth season as the 11th Virginia G. Piper music director.

“After a lengthy and global search, Maestro Muñoz joined The Phoenix Symphony in the 2013-14 season and quickly established a vision focused on artistic excellence and ensuring that Phoenix was a place that new music, especially young American composers, could be celebrated and performed,” according to the release.

“The community here in Phoenix has been incredibly welcoming and vibrant and I am excited to continue to lead this amazing orchestra for many years to come,” Mr. Muñoz said in the release.

“I am incredibly proud of the talented and professional musicians I work with each week here with The Phoenix Symphony,” he said.

“As I look to the future, I look to grow artistically with the orchestra and our community and to continue to perform celebrated orchestral masterworks as well as music of our time, as we showcase upcoming works by young American composers,” he said in the release.

The Phoenix Symphony has been serving the citizens of the Phoenix metropolitan area and Arizona since 1947. It presents an annual season from September through the beginning of June, featuring full-length classical and pops concerts at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix, as well as concerts in Mesa, Prescott and throughout central Arizona.

The symphony performs for more than 125,000 students and children, helping to introduce music to new generations through a variety of education and youth-engagement programs.

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