Press Room

John Mangum, Houston Symphony CEO, Executive Director

John Mangum Named Executive Director & CEO of the Houston Symphony

HOUSTON (Jan. 12, 2018) – Houston Symphony Board President Janet F. Clark, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, announced today the appointment of 19-year veteran arts administrator John Mangum to the position of Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer of the Houston Symphony. Mangum will hold the Margaret Alkek Williams Executive Director/CEO Chair and will begin his new post April 16, 2018. Mangum succeeds Mark C. Hanson, who stepped down from this role in July 2017 to lead the San Francisco Symphony.

Mangum has held several senior artistic planning roles at major American orchestras. Most recently, he has served as President and Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County since 2014, overseeing all aspects of the Society’s operations, including budgeting and financial management, marketing and audience development, and fundraising. Prior to the Philharmonic Society, Mangum served as Director of Artistic Planning with the San Francisco Symphony from 2011 to 2014 and in a similar capacity at the New York Philharmonic from 2009 to 2011 overseeing programming for subscription concerts, tours, galas, special events, summer concerts, chamber music programs and parks concerts.

“As a seasoned industry professional with an impressive background in orchestra management and fundraising, John has led some innovative artistic initiatives and has accomplished important milestones in some of the country’s largest markets,” said Clark. “We welcome John during this important time and look forward to raising our artistic excellence and community relevance under his leadership and creative vision.”

“We are looking forward to welcoming John to the Houston Symphony family. I am particularly excited about collaborating with him as the Houston Symphony continues to realize the artistic vision we have been working so hard to achieve,” said Orozco-Estrada. “With John’s partnership, as well as his enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge he brings from his years of experience with other great orchestras, I know that together we will continue to raise the profile of the Houston Symphony.”

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the Houston Symphony at a time when the organization is boldly looking to the future and charting a dynamic course for what an orchestra can be in the 21st century,” said Mangum. “The Symphony’s impressive artistic partnership with Andrés Orozco-Estrada, one of the most exciting music directors before the public today, and its commitment to being relevant and accessible to everyone in its community resonated powerfully with me. I look forward to working with the Symphony’s outstanding musicians, board and staff to bring unforgettable musical experiences to everyone in this great city.”

Mangum’s appointment concludes a six-month nationwide search, which was conducted by a leading search firm for nonprofit leadership and guided by a 10-member search committee. The committee was chaired by David Pruner and populated by members of the board, orchestra and administrative staff. “This has been a very collaborative process that has concluded with the appointment of an exceptional arts manager with an outstanding level of expertise and experience that is essential for someone in this position,” said Pruner. “We’re very excited that John is coming onboard, and in him we have a leader poised to take the organization to the next level.”

Alongside Clark and Orozco-Estrada, Mangum will lead the Houston Symphony in its full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities; manage an annual operating budget of $34 million; and direct the activities of 77 staff members and 88 full-time professional musicians.

Early in Mangum’s tenure at the Philharmonic Society, he launched a $10 million campaign to eliminate debt, increase reserves and build the endowment. The campaign is expected to raise $20 million upon completion, double the original goal. Initiatives developed under Mangum’s leadership include residencies with the Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner, Mark Morris Dance Group, the Kronos Quartet, visits from the Berlin and the New York Philharmonic and artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Yuja Wang; the reintroduction of Eclectic Orange featuring artists from non-Western musical traditions and contemporary music; and collaborations with area colleges and universities that provide both engagement and performance opportunities for students. Working with a cadre of more than 800 volunteers, he oversees a countywide, school-based, K-12 education program that serves 160,000 students annually.

While in San Francisco, Mangum worked with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas to shape the Symphony’s overall artistic profile through the selection of repertoire, projects and artistic collaborators. His three-year tenure was marked by major initiatives including the Symphony’s Centennial Season, semi-staged opera productions, major artistic residencies and the first-ever concert performances of the complete West Side Story, recorded for commercial release.

Amanda Dinitz, who has served as Interim Executive Director of the Houston Symphony since July 2017, will continue to serve in her previous role as Chief of Strategic Initiatives. She will work closely with Clark and Mangum to ensure a seamless transition. “We are grateful for Amanda’s commitment to this institution and her leadership not only during our CEO search and transitional period, but during the months following the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey,” said Clark. “It is thanks to her leadership and that of the senior management team, with outstanding support from the full staff, orchestra and board, that the Houston Symphony got through some challenging times while maintaining the organization’s strength.”

Mangum holds a Ph.D. in history with a concentration in musicology, in addition to master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history, all from the University of California, Los Angeles. His scholarly work looks at the intersection of music and power in 18th-century German-speaking Central Europe. John, his wife Regina, and their son are looking forward to moving to Houston this spring.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 713-224-7575.


Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557,

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