Grand Rapids Symphony Appoints Keith C. Elder as President and CEO

A headshot of Keith C. Elder, President and CEO of Grand Rapids Symphony

Grand Rapids Symphony has selected Keith C. Elder as President and CEO, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on July 1, 2023.

Elder brings a wealth of expertise to the Grand Rapids Symphony, as an experienced leader in strategic thinking and arts administration. He most recently served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure, he demonstrated exemplary leadership in chartering the organization’s path forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic, executing the symphony’s first holiday television special “A Hometown Holiday”. Elder continued to maintain the symphony’s artistic standard of excellence, overseeing high-profile performances from guest artists such as Yefim Bronfman, Wynton Marsalis, Lawrence Brownlee, Ryan Speedo Green, The Eagles, and Sarah Coburn. Recognized for his dedication to and impact on the Tulsan community, Elder was awarded Tulsan of the Year by TulsaWorld in 2020.

Prior to his position in Tulsa, he held various roles at renowned institutions, including Aspen Music Festival and School, Eastman School of Music, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center. Elder is a distinguished member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the State of New York. He holds a bachelor of science in music and arts administration from Indiana University, with concentrations in tuba and technical theater, and a juris doctorate from New England School of Law.

In making the announcement, Grand Rapids Symphony Board Chairperson, Renee Tabben, said, “On behalf of the Search Committee and Board of Directors, I am thrilled to announce that Keith Elder will take the helm of the Grand Rapids Symphony as our new President and CEO. With Keith's guidance, we are confident that the Grand Rapids Symphony will continue to thrive by fostering financial sustainability, deep community engagement, innovative programming, meaningful collaborations, and delivering exceptional music experiences to our diverse audiences while maintaining a strong connection with the community."

“I am deeply honored to assume the role of President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony, an organization with an outstanding legacy of artistic achievements, education, and community engagement,” said Elder. “I eagerly anticipate becoming an active member of the Grand Rapids community and joining the Grand Rapids Symphony family. I look forward to fostering strong relationships with all Symphony stakeholders, including our patrons, supporters, and partners, as we work together to further the Symphony's mission.”

“ACG was honored to conduct the executive search process for the next leader of the Grand Rapids Symphony,” said ACG President Bruce D. Thibodeau. “We are deeply appreciative for the proactive participation of board members, staff, community leaders, musicians, and music director in this very important search.”

July 2023

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