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Find Your Music™: Building Audiences through Community

Watch Martha's Talk
Martha Gilmer 515x575

Martha GilmerChief Executive Officer, San Diego Symphony

TitleFind Your Music™: Building Audiences through Community


Read/View Time17 min

Ask yourself what your community needs from you.

This talk was recorded live at the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference in San Diego in August, 2017.

"Through changes in programming, listening to our audiences, and refreshing our brand, we reclaimed our confidence in what the San Diego Symphony can and does mean to members of the community."

By getting back to basics and making community a priority, the San Diego Symphony is redefining what it means to be an orchestra. Learn how this emphasis on connecting with the community is reenergizing the entire San Diego Symphony team of musicians and staff, propelling ticket sales to record levels and inspiring new donors.

Martha Gilmer 515x575

Martha Gilmer

Chief Executive Officer

San Diego Symphony

Before joining the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as CEO in October of 2014, Martha Gilmer was a major force with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the past 35 years, working under three music directors (Solti, Barenboim and Muti) and with countless pre-eminent guest conductors and soloists.

In her evolving role at the CSO, Martha oversaw the Orchestra’s artistic planning, education programs, professional chorus, Symphony Center Presents (a presentation series including visiting orchestras, chamber music, recitals, jazz and world music) and the Civic Orchestra (training orchestra of the CSO). In her capacity as the CSO’s vice president of artistic planning and audience development, she developed collaborative programming with other Chicago institutions and launched innovative initiatives such as Beyond the Score ® (which is currently being licensed to other orchestras), CLassicEncounters ® and Music Now. She also provided the oversight of the annual three-week CSO festival. Ms. Gilmer was the producer of countless concert and semi-staged CSO operatic performances. During her tenure in Chicago she accompanied the CSO on tours around the world. Ms. Gilmer is a well-known writer and lecturer on music, culture and community, and she has made presentations at such places as Aspen Ideas Festival, among others. In June 2012 Martha Gilmer’s position at the CSO was endowed as The Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair – Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Development, a first in the music world according to Musical America.

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