The Phoenix Symphony Board of Directors has selected orchestra veteran Peter Kjome, who recently led one of the country’s top orchestras, after a national search to serve as the organization’s new President and CEO.
Kjome succeeds Suzanne Wilson, who led The Phoenix Symphony from 2020-2022. She stepped down from her position to relocate to London, England for a unique opportunity presented to her family.
Most recently, Kjome (pronounced “Cho-mee”) served as the President and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, one of the nation’s leading orchestras. He has also held the top post at the Grand Rapids Symphony and was a professional oboist earlier in his career. Kjome begins his new Phoenix job on February 1.
“The Phoenix Symphony is a renowned institution and one of Arizona’s most important cultural assets,” Kjome said. “I look forward to working in collaboration with Music Director Tito Muñoz, the board of directors, musicians, staff, volunteers, and other leaders to advance the Symphony and its remarkable programs. The opportunities in Phoenix are exciting.”
Under Kjome’s leadership, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra made substantial progress to support artistic growth, innovation and expansion of the organization’s audience members and donors. A highlight of Kjome’s tenure was reestablishing international touring after a 13-year absence, including the BSO’s debuts at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival.
Prior to his Baltimore appointment, Kjome served as President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony, where he championed significant advancements of the Symphony’s artistic and education programs while strengthening its financial position. The GRS completed a $40 million endowment campaign while developing and implementing strategic initiatives that enhanced the orchestra’s service to the community.
Earlier in his career, Kjome’s management and financial skills were enhanced while working at 3M Company, a leading global company based in St. Paul, Minnesota. At 3M, he served in positions of increasing responsibility in the consumer business, including roles in strategic planning, marketing and the company’s Six Sigma program.
Kjome received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is an alumnus of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Kjome serves on the board of trustees of the Cleveland Institute of Music and is co-chair of its academic affairs committee.
“The Phoenix Symphony is thrilled to welcome Peter to our organization,” said Kevin Moriarty, Symphony Board co-chair. “With Peter at the helm, The Phoenix Symphony has an incredibly bright future. We look forward to his contributions and to continuing our great tradition of bringing the very best music to our beloved community and beyond.”
The Phoenix Symphony hired Isaacson, Miller, a premier search firm for the performing arts, to lead the global search. Internally, The Phoenix Symphony President and CEO Search Committee was chaired by Board of Directors member Mo Stein and included additional board members, musicians, staff and prominent community leaders serving as ambassadors.
“The Search Committee, led by Mo Stein, did an excellent job identifying outstanding candidates to lead the Symphony,” said Lon Babby, Symphony Board co-chair. “Among those candidates, Peter Kjome distinguished himself as the very best choice to lead the Symphony into its next exciting chapter.”
The Phoenix Symphony fielded inquiries from all over the country and interviewed candidates with extensive expertise within the orchestral community.
“We were overwhelmed with the number of outstanding applicants,” Stein said. “Peter’s decades of experience, his leadership at a Tier 1 orchestra and his deep industry relationships made him a standout among a very talented candidate pool. In addition, his passion and commitment to a forward-looking strategic vision is a great match.”
The Phoenix Symphony is Arizona’s largest performing arts organization. The 2022-23 concert season features performances at Symphony Hall and also embarks on a series of concerts at venues across the Valley, including Mesa Arts Center, Orpheum Theatre, Camelback Bible Church and the Symphony’s newest venue partner, the Madison Center for the Arts. The season, which runs from October to May, includes classics and pops performances and fun programs designed to warm any newcomer.