Philharmonic Society’s president will lead the Houston Symphony – Orange County Register

John Mangum, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, has accepted an offer to lead the Houston Symphony. A press release announced that he will begin his new job as the Texas orchestra’s executive director on April 16.

A search committee is being formed by two members of the Philharmonic Society’s board to find a replacement before the beginning of next season. Mangum replaces Mark Hanson, who left Houston to join the San Francisco Symphony as executive director in September.

John Mangum will leave his top post with the Philharmonic Society to lead the Houston Symphony. (Photo courtesy Philharmonic Society)

“I was very attracted to the artistic possibilities here,” Mangum said from Houston this morning. “I really enjoyed my time in Orange County and wasn’t looking to leave. But I think there’s a creative outlet that leading an orchestra offers that’s special and unique. My career prior to Orange County involved working with some major orchestras, and I enjoyed that.”

Mangum will transition from a presenting group with an annual budget of a little over $5 million to the nation’s 10th largest orchestra, with a budget of $34 million in 2017. Mangum said that the difference in size between the two organizations doesn’t worry him. “I certainly feel like I have the skill set and the background to navigate that kind of environment.  I feel a lot of excitement about the possibilities. From the conversations I’ve had here I’ve learned that this is a very forward-thinking community.”

The Houston Symphony has recently faced the same budget challenges common to many American orchestras. In May, the symphony announced layoffs and restructuring of several positions in its administrative department, including early retirement plans for senior leadership.

Mangum said the cutbacks weren’t symptomatic of larger problems. “It’s part of the normal business cycle of being a not-for-profit…

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