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GRS Names New President/CEO

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Keith Elder has been named President/CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony! (see the article on MLive HERE)


A twelve-member search committee began working last summer, after Mary Tuuk Kuras announced her retirement from the GRS. The group included GRS staff and board members, community leaders, and GRS musicians, and was chaired by GRS Board Chairperson Renee Tabben (see our interview with Renee HERE).


In the fall, after researching reputable firms to lead our search, Arts Consulting Group (ACG) was chosen. A job description was crafted and the position posting occurred throughout the industry so that the net was cast widely for our important position. ACG received and vetted resumes, and they led the first-round of interviews. From that process, semi-finalists were selected and met with the committee via Zoom, afterwhich finalists were chosen to travel to Grand Rapids for in-person meetings. Each finalist was able to hear the GRS perform on a Classical Series concert in DeVos Performance Hall and spent several days meeting with key GRS constituents, including GRSMA's Orchestra Committee.


Here are quotes from the GRSMA musicians who served on the President/CEO search committee.


"Our President/CEO search committee process led us to someone who is uniquely qualified to lead the Grand Rapids Symphony to the 100th anniversary season in 2029-30. Keith Elder's background with the Boston Symphony Orchestra included working his way up from stage hand to administrative duties. He is no stranger to Michigan, having served as Vice President of Operations with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and we look forward to introducing Keith to the western side of our state!"

Paul Austin/horn


"Renee Tabben's leadership was invaluable in keeping our committee steering in the right direction. I enjoyed getting to know her and other community leaders from our board who served and who took our process very seriously. Their thoughtful opinions about the many decisions that had to be made along the way were helpful and insightful. One of these leaders was even serving on another local arts CEO search committee at the same time! It was obvious to me that everyone on the committee cared very deeply about our orchestra and our community."

Christine Golden/violin


"The search committee was very impressed with the notable work that Keith Elder accomplished during his four years with the Tulsa Symphony, especially over the pandemic time. The projects that Keith and the orchestra produced, including a concert to commemorate the Tulsa Race Massacre, seemed to bring the entire community together. He was awarded Tulsan of the Year in 2020, an honor not usually given to an arts leader. We look forward to seeing the ideas and energy that Keith Elder will bring to Grand Rapids."

Kristen Shoup/viola


GRSMA welcomes Keith Elder as the new President/CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony! Look for an interview with him to appear in an upcoming issue of our newsletter.

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