Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces Adoption of Transformative and Sustainable Plan for the Future



Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces Adoption of Transformative and Sustainable Plan for the Future

Five-Year plan will expand and strengthen programs and establish new levels of engagement with audience members, the broader community and Maryland

February 11, 2020 (Baltimore, MD)
– The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) today announced that its Board of Directors has voted unanimously to adopt a new five-year Plan.

The five-year Plan is the result of a deep analytical dive into the BSO’s recent performance and industry trends, as well as input from former Senator Ed Kasemeyer, Chairman of the State Workgroup on the BSO, and the advice of Michael Kaiser, the leading national consultant on cultural organization turn-arounds.

Peter Kjome, President and CEO of the BSO said: “This Plan will enable the BSO to enrich lives with remarkable concerts and educational programs, supported by well-managed financial resources, and enabled by strong organizational capacity.” Kjome added: “This will ensure that Maryland continues to be home to one of the most important orchestras in the country.”

The BSO’s Strategic Plan 2020 focuses on Culture, Capital, Capacity and Community:

  • Culture: Ensuring that the art and education we deliver are among the best in the nation, engage our audience and donors, serve our community and are surprising and inspiring.
  • Capital: Ensuring we have the financial resources we need to support this programming and that we are responsible stewards of our assets.
  • Capacity: Ensuring that we have the people and the systems we need to manage the institution effectively and efficiently and to govern the organization responsibly.
  • Community: Ensuring that we serve our entire Baltimore and Montgomery County communities effectively, and that we fully occupy our role as the leader of the performing arts in Maryland.

Central to the Plan will be the implementation of a rolling three-year artistic plan, with a rich portfolio of performances of the highest quality, complemented by robust educational programs. The BSO will deliver programs at locations throughout the State as well as reach Maryland’s underserved communities. BSO Board Chairman, Barry F. Rosen, stated: “We have developed a well-researched, exciting, balance budgeted, multi-year Plan to expand the cultural and civic value of the Orchestra. I am grateful to the donors, as well as to staff, musicians, Board and community leaders for their contributions to paving a new path forward.” Rosen went on, “We have clearly turned a corner, but we need the continuing support of all our constituencies to perpetuate that momentum.”

The orchestra previously announced that it has secured $6 Million in extraordinary operating gifts, as well as a $1.25 Million endowment gift in recent weeks to help it embark on its transformative, multi-year Plan from a position of strength.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Marin Alsop stated: “I am delighted that this multi-year strategic plan will put the BSO on a road to stability and provide opportunities to build on its greatness.”

BSO Players Committee Chair, Brian Prechtl said, “This plan brings the promise of a reimagined BSO that merges all that’s been built in the last 104 years with a bright vision for the future. We look forward to bringing performance and educational offerings to Baltimore City, Montgomery and the surrounding counties and the entire State of Maryland with passion and purpose.”

“Great art and great education, and the well-funded promotion of that great art and great education, will grow our family of audience members and donors,” said Peter Kjome, BSO President and CEO. He went on to say, “That is what we have done this season, and what we will be able to do for future seasons by implementing this new, exciting five-year Plan.”

Additional philanthropic support, including multi-year commitments, will be critical to the Orchestra’s ability to fully implement new initiatives and make the exciting future a reality. The BSO is honored to announce a new gift of $1 million from the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds – a gift expanding an inspirational legacy of multigenerational, leadership support initiated by the late Joseph Meyerhoff, for whom the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is named.



Objectives and programs outlined in the Plan include:

  • Superb Artistry: The Orchestra and its superb musicians will present a portfolio of performances of the highest quality, adopting longer-view planning to secure internationally recognized guest artists and plan several key initiatives as pillars of each season.
  • Key Artistic Anchors: There will be three to five major programs each season, including a mini-festival approach that incorporates extended thematic programming and collaborative arts partners. In addition to a focus on classical composers, new concepts being considered include Gospel and Hip-Hop, building on efforts such as the BSO’s highly successful Gospel programs.
  • New Series: Building on the success of Pulse, develop a new cross-over concert series designed to attract a younger, diverse audience. Enhance the SuperPops series with contemporary pops programming that will complement the exceptional classical programs presented by the BSO.
  • Patron Experience: Enhance the patron experience of our concertgoers at both of our homes by exploring improvements in customer service, pre-concert music and receptions with our musicians and guest artists. At the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, enhance the customer experience through food options and other improvements in the concert hall lobby.
  • Education: Further strengthen the BSO’s rich array of educational programs for residents of all ages, while also ensuring that we reach Maryland’s underserved communities and classrooms. Programs include OrchKids, a music program creating social change and nurturing promising futures for youth, and the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, with three orchestral ensembles of young musicians. The BSO will also continue to create innovative programs for lifelong learners, following a tradition that includes the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians.
  • Community Presence and Statewide Service: Continue the success of the BSO’s Symphony in the City concerts, expanding reach and access with the launch of BSO in Your City, presenting concerts and residencies across the state and performances in rural areas of Maryland.
  • Community Engagement: Create a Community Advisory Board to provide input into engagement activities. To help foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, develop a thoughtful DEI statement and plan that spans all facets of the institution in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Accessibility: Utilize technology to serve a broader geographic area beyond the concert hall, including live-streaming concerts. Make BSO performances accessible to audiences around the world and introduce new formats to bring the BSO to new audiences.
  • Positive Catalyst: Work in partnership with community leaders to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the neighborhood around the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with other established and emerging Maryland institutions and artists in creating unique programs to attract new audiences and serve the community.
  • Leveraging Our Assets: Invest in our home at the Meyerhoff by enhancing our capacity to generate additional revenue, inviting the community into our doors through rentals and other non-BSO activities. Maximize our presence in our second home at Strathmore by creating opportunities to expand our reach into the Montgomery County community.

Other areas of the Plan include enhancements in fundraising, marketing, board and staff development, and incorporating members of the orchestra more deeply into the planning process. Implementation of the plan has begun, and Michael Kaiser, Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, will continue to consult with the organization over the next year. The strategic investments and programs are designed to move the Orchestra to a future place of self-sustainability, including driving incremental earned as well as contributed revenue during the term of the five-year plan.