Arts & Events

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Director to Resign

From Jenny Lee
Wednesday March 16, 2011 - 04:52:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony Executive Director Jim Kleinmann announced today that he will step down at the conclusion of this season, his fifth as CEO of “the Bay Area’s most adventurous orchestra,” to pursue the growth and further development of PlayGround, the playwright incubator he co‐founded in 1994. He led the organization through a period of significant transforma tion, including the announcement of Kent Nagano’s departure in 2007, the two‐season Music Director search for Nagano’s successor in 2008, and the 2009 announcement of Joana Carneiro as just the third Music Director in Berkeley Symphony’s forty‐plus year history. Kleinmann stated, “One of my proudest accomplishments has been helping to bring in Joana Carneiro to succeed Kent Nagano. This orchestra is poised to do great things and I am confident that Joana and my successor can continue Berkeley Symphony’s upward trajectory.” A national search for Kleinmann’s successor will be launched shortly. 

During his tenure, subscriptions grew by 44%, the accumulated deficit was finally retired and Berkeley Symphony launched its first endowment campaign, raising nearly $600,000 during the recession. Musician compensation grew by nearly 26% during the four‐year contract he negotiated in his first year and the quality of the orchestra reached new heights, with critically acclaimed performances of Beethoven, Bartok, Sibelius, and local composers Adams, Dresher and Frank, as well as engagements with the Castleton Festival Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group and Bolshoi Ballet, among others. Berkeley Symphony Board President Kathleen G. Henschel added, “I’m grateful for Jim’s incredible passion, dedication and professionalism. The organization he leaves at the end of this season is one quite transformed from the one he joined five years ago.” 

Berkeley Symphony programming expanded during this period as well, with a tripling of the orchestra’s award‐winning music education program in the Berkeley public schools, the launch of the first five commissions under Carneiro’s tenure (including upcoming commissions by Gabriela Lena Frank, Paul Dresher and Steven Stucky), and the creation of the chamber ensemble, Berkeley Akademie, led by Nagano. Music Director Joana Carneiro commented, “During my first two seasons, Jim has been a key partner in the orchestra's artistic direction, providing great stability, support and freedom to follow our dreams, commission important new works, and build on Berkeley Symphony's outstanding record of achievement.” 

Founded in 1969 as the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony has established a reputation for presenting major new works for orchestra alongside fresh interpretations of the classic European repertoire. Berkeley Symphony has been recognized in seven of the past nine seasons with an Award for Adventurous Programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). In addition to its subscription concerts and Under Construction new music series, Berkeley Symphony regularly partners with Cal Performances to provide music for visiting artists. Berkeley Symphony’s award‐winning, year‐long Music in the Schools Program reaches every public elementary school student in Berkeley. San Francisco public radio station KALW 91.7 FM is Berkeley Symphony’s broadcast partner, airing all Berkeley Symphony subscription concerts.