Arts & Events

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Chooses New Executive Director

From Jenny Lee, BSO
Tuesday July 26, 2011 - 11:28:00 AM

Berkeley Symphony Board of Directors today announced the selection of its new executive director, René Mandel, to head the 42-year-old organization. His appointment is the culmination of a nationwide search that began in April. Mandel will succeed current Executive Director James Kleinmann, who served Berkeley Symphony since 2006, and assume his duties with the orchestra on August 1. 

René Mandel was Berkeley Symphony’s Artistic Administrator and Orchestra Manager from 2006 to 2009, and principal second violin in the orchestra. During his tenure, he administered areas concerning the hiring of musicians and soloists, managed the concert programming and successfully aided in the artistic expansion of the orchestra. Most recently, he served as the Director of Artistic Operations/Executive Producer at the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, one of Canada’s leading orchestras. While there, he effectively implemented Music Director Kent Nagano’s creative vision for artistic projects and long-range planning, managed the artistic budget, and oversaw the orchestra’s concert programming and production. 

“We are very pleased to have René join us as Executive Director,” commented Tom Reicher, the president-elect of the Berkeley Symphony Board of Directors. “His experience as both a musician and an arts administrator will enable him to lead the business side of Berkeley Symphony and help the Symphony to continue its tradition of innovative concert programming and education of young people.” 

“It's a privilege to be returning to Berkeley Symphony, a Bay Area jewel,” commented Mandel. “I am honored to be entrusted with the stewardship of Joana Carneiro's bold and passionate artistic vision. I look forward to working hand in hand with Joana, the musicians, staff and Board to deepen our relationship with the community and to build upon the success of this fine orchestra." 

Music Director Joana Carneiro, who first met Mandel during the Music Director search that brought her on board three years ago, stated, “I’m delighted to welcome René as the new executive director. He is a leader with a deep knowledge of music and an infectious passion for the orchestra, and I’m eagerly looking forward to our creative partnership together.” 

Berkeley Symphony’s 2011-12 Season will open on Thursday, October 27, at UC Berkeley Zellerbach Hall. The program includes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, featuring Johannes Moser, and Enrico Chapela’s Li Po for orchestra and electronic soundtrack. Season subscriptions on sale now. For additional information, please visit, or call (510) 841-2800.