PAUL MEECHAM, PRESIDENT AND CEO
Paul Meecham joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as President and CEO in October 2006. A musician by training, he has occupied leadership positions in the classical music industry during the last 20 years in London, San Francisco, New York and Seattle. In partnership with Music Director Marin Alsop, he has led the BSO in pursuing innovative strategies to redefine the role of the American symphony orchestra in the 21st century, combining an entrepreneurial spirit with fiscal responsibility. New initiatives have increased the BSO's relevance within the community, including the ground-breaking inner-city schools program OrchKids, adult amateur participation programs including 'Rusty Musicians' and the BSO Academy, and affordable ticket pricing based on a highly successful $25 subscription pricing model that has increased access and attendance. During his tenure, the BSO has been a regular presence at Carnegie Hall, embarked in 2011-12 on a West Coast tour, and has issued several commercial recordings to acclaim. The BSO has balanced its budget for four out of the past five fiscal years and exceeded 10,000 total gifts received in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 for the first time in its history.
As executive director for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (2003-2006), Mr. Meecham launched the first-ever Seattle Symphony national radio broadcast series and a series of commercial recordings of American music on the Naxos label. He increased the Symphony's commitment to family programming and community outreach, and worked closely with Maestro Gerard Schwarz on the two highly-acclaimed Made in America festivals.
Mr. Meecham was general manager of the New York Philharmonic (1999-2003) and San Francisco Symphony (1997-1999). While in New York he managed a busy national and international touring program, and secured the safe return of the Philharmonic to New York, after the orchestra was stranded in Germany on September 11, 2001. In San Francisco, he was a key figure in the ground-breaking six-year labor agreement with the players, following an 11-week work stoppage in 1996.
As managing director of the London Sinfonietta for six years beginning in 1991, Mr. Meecham restored the ensemble’s position as the preeminent European 20th-century music orchestra, increasing international demand for concerts, touring and recording. He commissioned works by leading composers including John Adams and Steve Reich, and created a festival of new American music. During his tenure, the London Sinfonietta was the 1997 winner of the London Evening Standard award for outstanding ensemble.
A pianist and violinist, Paul Meecham graduated with a bachelor's degree in music. After a career in music publishing as head of publicity at the London firm of Boosey & Hawkes, he moved into orchestra management in 1988, as head of marketing at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Meecham is the immediate past-President of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. He is also a Chapter member of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, and sits on the board of the Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
Last updated December 2011
Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr., Chairman of the Board
Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr. is president and chief executive officer of BGE and senior vice president of Constellation Energy. He joined BGE in 1972 as an associate engineer and has held many leadership positions during his tenure including supervisor, general supervisor, manager and vice president. Prior to his role as president and CEO of BGE, he served as vice president, electric transmission and distribution for the utility from 2000 to 2004.
DeFontes served in the Maryland Air National Guard from 1972 to 1978 and was honorably discharged with the title of staff sergeant.
DeFontes is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a board member of the American Gas Association, Southeastern Electric Exchange, and of Reliability First Corporation.
Very active in community service, DeFontes was elected the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's new board chair-elect. His two-year term begins in September 2011. He also serves on the St. Joseph Medical Center Operating Board of Trustees, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Board of Trustees, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore Board of Directors, the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering National Advisory Council, and a member of The Center Club, Baltimore Country Club and the Harford Flying Club.
DeFontes earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Swarthmore College and a master's degree in business administration from Loyola University Maryland.
Last updated November 2011