Melia P. Tourangeau going to the Pittsburgh Symphony
May 5, 2015
Patricia A. Richards, who served as chair of the USUO board from 2005 to 2014, was named as interim CEO of USUO.
"The past seven years with Utah Symphony and Utah Opera have been some of the most challenging and the most rewarding of my career," Tourangeau said in a statement. "We survived the recession, are more financially stable than ever, and are on an exciting artistic trajectory leading into the future. We have dedicated leadership in our community supporting our efforts, a fantastic board, talented and competent staff, passionate donors and patrons, and a wonderful orchestra and opera company that continue to reach new heights. I’m so grateful for the unparalleled experience I’ve had with this amazing organization. This is a very special community. My family and I will sincerely miss Utah and the people who make it so wonderful."
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera board chair Dave Petersen praised her ability to propel the organization forward through difficult challenges.
"Through her leadership and innovation, Melia has laid a strong foundation for our organization to build upon into the future," Petersen said. "Utah Symphony and Utah Opera have benefited from an increased exposure on the national stage, and we are confident that we will attract executive talent to continue the upward trajectory in coming years. Melia is a competent, passionate, and artistic administrator we wish her nothing but the best."
Tourangeau joined USUO as President and CEO in spring 2008. Under her leadership, the organization returned its annual fund to pre-recession levels, increased performance revenues more than $1 million and held expenses to a six percent increase over six years. She was also instrumental in hiring Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, who recently renewed his contract through the 2018-19 season, championed the recording of Mahler symphonies for release during the orchestras 75th anniversary celebrations in 2015-16, and spearheaded the orchestra’s first-ever tour to play outdoor concerts at Utah’s five national parks in August 2014.
Prior to joining USUO, Tourangeau was President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan, where she was responsible for the overall financial, operational and administrative management of the organization. She joined that symphony in 1997 as education director and moved through ranks to director of operations and vice president and general manager before being named president. She began her administrative career with the Akron Symphony Orchestra as education coordinator.
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"It has been a great pleasure to work with Melia and to be able to share our dreams and visions for the Utah Symphony Orchestra in such an easy, natural and professional manner," said Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer. "The orchestra and community as a whole have benefited from her dedication and passion for symphonic music. I will miss her personality and professionalism, and wish Melia all the best in her new role."
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth noted Tourangeau’s strong intention to align the USUO organization internally while strengthening the individual brand identities for Utah Opera, Utah Symphony and the Deer Valley Music Festival.
"I’ve appreciated her support of my vision for Utah Opera to provide high-quality operatic experiences for our community of beloved standard repertoire as well as newer works like the production of Stravinsky’s ‘The Rake’s Progress’ opening this weekend," McBeth said. "I wish Melia the very best as she continues in her career and know that our outstanding organization and community will attract a leader who will enthusiastically lead us through Utah Opera’s 40th Season and beyond."
Utah Symphony musician board representative John Eckstein praised Tourangeau for her contributions to the organization.
"The musicians of the Utah Symphony want to thank Melia Tourangeau for her dedicated service," said Eckstein, who has been a cellist with the orchestra since 1990. "Through her deep commitment to this organization and our community, Melia has been instrumental in creating a stronger and more vibrant USUO. Looking forward, we feel very fortunate to have an exceptional interim CEO in Patricia Richards who will provide continuity and leadership during this transition period."
Richards, a former USUO board chair, was recently appointed chair of the board for the League of American Orchestras and was instrumental in appointing Tourangeau to the helm in 2008. "In my past role as board chair, I was truly fortunate to work with such a capable executive as Melia," said Richards, who was an executive at Wells Fargo until her retirement in 2009. "She is creative, hardworking and very dedicated to the good of the organization. Her openness and genuine nature created an atmosphere of trust within the organization that helped us all work together, and she never gave up even during the darkest days of the recession. The board came to love and respect her for her character as well as her accomplishments. It is to Utah’s credit that she is respected and in demand nationally as a great CEO."
Petersen said the organization has a strong, unified board and great artistic and administrative leadership in place. The board will work with Tourangeau to determine a transition plan, and will appoint a search committee this month to spearhead a national search for a new chief executive officer.