SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Symphony and the Utah Opera have announced that Paul Meecham will become the organizations' next president and CEO, effective July 1. He will succeed USUO interim president and CEO Patricia A. Richards.
Dave Petersen, chair of the USUO board of trustees, made the announcement Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to welcome Paul to Utah Symphony and Utah Opera,” Petersen said in a news release. “Paul brings a wonderful blend of experience, innovation, vision and leadership.”
Meecham currently serves as president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2006.
“I moved here (to Baltimore) 10 years ago, when the BSO was 90. It's an honor and a privilege to work for a storied organization and to be a steward, if you like, of taking this organization through the next decade,” Meecham said in an interview with the Deseret News. “And so I look at the opportunity in Utah, too, to really take what has been built up, particularly over the last few years under (Utah Symphony music director) Thierry Fischer's leadership, and to build upon it.”
Meecham said the Utah Symphony's ongoing 75th anniversary is a “big season” and that he looks forward to working with Fischer and others in furthering the organization's growth and influence.
“When I sat down to talk with all the different constituents, I sensed the passion for the organization and an ambition for it, and that was very appealing,” he said.
Fischer likewise looks forward to working with Meecham.
“I knew from the first moment we met that Paul was exactly the kind of partner I've been hoping for as we continue to grow as an institution,” Fischer said in the news release. “The timing could not be more perfect. His vast experience as a leader in our industry is a spot-on match for our artistic ambitions, and I know he understands how important it is that we maintain our momentum.”
Originally from Bath, England, Meecham received a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Birmingham. Prior to his appointment with the BSO, he worked in executive management roles for the London Sinfonietta, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Seattle Symphony.
Though Meecham has extensive experience working with orchestras, his upcoming role with Utah Opera will be a first for him.
“That was one of the appealing aspects of the job,” he said. “I was in line for tickets at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden as a student, and I've always had a passion for opera. … This will be the first time on the other side of the curtain, so to speak, but I'm looking forward to that aspect of the job.”
Utah Opera artistic director Christopher McBeth said with Meecham's “extensive experience and personal love for both arts forms,” the future of USUO is “truly bright.”
“I look forward to working closely with Paul to create and present exciting opera projects for our community,” McBeth said in the news release.
Apart from the work he'll be doing with USUO, Meecham said the prospect of living in Utah for the first time is “very exciting.” While his family has been in the United States for 19 years, he said, they've primarily lived on the East and West Coasts.
“Until this opportunity came around, I had never been to (Utah),” he said. “I've only seen it in a snowy state, so I'm looking forward to when the snow's melted. … We've really not done much in the way of exploration of the Rockies, so that's very appealing. Plus the fact that I enjoy skiing — there's no better place to go.”