Ulster Orchestra engages distinguished new Interim CEO
The Ulster Orchestra has engaged Edward Smith, the former CEO of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), as its part-time interim Chief Executive, while the Orchestra searches for a permanent Chief Executive for the future.
With 40 years experience in the orchestral world, Ed was Chief Executive of the CBSO for 22 years before moving to similar positions with the Toronto Symphony and Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden.
Since leaving Gothenburg over two years ago, he has worked in a consultancy capacity for a number of organisations, including Camerata Nordica, Scandinavia’s leading international ensemble based in Kalmar, Sweden and the Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai. Last year he took on a short assignment with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where he had his first job in the 1970s.
Speaking about his appointment Ed said, “I have spent my entire professional life working in music and orchestras and look forward to working with the Ulster Orchestra’s musicians, board and staff in a time of quite fundamental change.”
“Orchestras across the world become part of a city and region’s cultural fabric establishing themselves as part of the community, attracting visitors and adding to the richness and diversity of life. I believe the same is true of the Ulster Orchestra.”
Speaking about his role specifically, Ed Smith continued, “There is much to be done on many fronts, but I am particularly encouraged by the stated ambition of the Orchestra’s Chairman, Professor Sir George Bain, that the UO becomes ‘the Orchestra that Northern Ireland cannot do without’, a sentiment that could apply to orchestras the world over. I look forward to assisting him in this goal.”
The Ulster Orchestra, which is supported by its principal funder the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, performs live to over 100,000 people across Northern Ireland each year. At the same time, thousands of children and adults of all ages and musical abilities get to know the Orchestra through its award-winning education and outreach programmes. The Orchestra also has an impressive discography of over 70 recordings.
Welcoming the appointment, Professor Sir George Bain, Chairman of Northern Ireland’s only professional fulltime symphony orchestra said, “Ed brings with him a reputation that is second to none.”
“Working from Belfast on a regular basis over the next few months, Ed will be leading in a number of key areas, including overseeing and managing the preparation of the UO’s new business plan, ongoing work on our change management strategy and the process of recruiting a permanent chief executive. Certainly enough to keep him busy,” Sir George continued.
Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said Edward Smith’s appointment would help the orchestra reach new heights. “As one of the most respected names in the industry, Ed Smith brings with him an enviable wealth of talent and expertise. We very much look forward to seeing how the orchestra grows and develops over the coming months under his professional guidance, during what are defining times for the arts in Northern Ireland.”