Key Leadership Biographies
Mark C. Hanson
Chief Executive Officer
Mark C. Hanson joined the San Francisco Symphony as Executive Director in September 2017. Given the title of Chief Executive Officer in 2018, Hanson has overseen a period of exciting change and forward progress. A new multi-year financial plan, aimed at restoring balanced budgets and enabling organizational growth, has inspired a 40% increase in Board annual fund giving and attracted $10 million in special funding. Within the parameters of this plan, Hanson successfully negotiated a new four-year musician contract in November 2018 that cements the San Francisco Symphony’s leadership position among American orchestras and introduces a unique housing shared-equity program to help combat the Bay Area’s high cost of housing. These important developments were soon followed by the appointment of acclaimed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as Music Director Designate, an outcome that The New York Times reported as “the talk of the music world.” One of the most influential and creative forces in music, Salonen initiates his tenure as Music Director in September 2020, teaming up with eight new San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners from varied creative realms. In 2019, the San Francisco Symphony announced a new partnership with Stanford University to present an annual series of concerts in the newly renovated Frost Amphitheater on the Stanford campus. With a seating capacity of more than 6,000, the outdoor venue provides the San Francisco Symphony with a long-desired summer home in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Prior to his San Francisco Symphony appointment, Hanson served as Executive Director & CEO of the Houston Symphony between 2010 and 2017, during which time the orchestra appointed Andrés Orozco-Estrada as Music Director. While serving as President & Executive Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (2004–10), Hanson helped to secure the services of Edo de Waart as Music Director and Marvin Hamlisch as Principal Pops Conductor. A trained cellist who studied at the Eastman School of Music for two years, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. He participated in the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, with fellowship assignments at the New York Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and Syracuse Symphony. He and his wife, Christina, are parents to three sons.