It was announced today that Dr. Fred Bronstein, who has served as president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the past five years, is leaving North Texas to assume a similar post in Saint Louis. Bronstein will take over as president and executive director of the St. Louis Symphony, a traditionally strong orchestra that, along with the DSO and other U.S. orchestras, went through a rocky financial period during the late 1990s and early 2000s but has regained a stable financial footing in recent years.
Bronstein’s biography on the DSO Web site touches on some of the high points of his tenure in Dallas:
Arriving at a time of economic challenge in July 2002, Fred Bronstein took immediate action to ensure fiscal stability, artistic enhancements and long-term prosperity for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. By implementing expense reductions and disciplining recurring operating expenses to a 10% increase over five years, and through a series of new fund raising initiatives, Bronstein led the DSO to four consecutive years of balanced budgets, from 2004 to 2007. During his 5-year tenure, the Dallas Symphony’s annual fund raising for operations has increased 30%, from $7.14 million to $9.3 million, its highest level ever. He also led the successful match of the largest endowment gift in DSO history, a $10 million challenge grant, which along with additional gifts and market growth led to a more than 65% increase in endowment assets, from $70 million in May 2002 to an endowment that exceeds $115 million today.
Bronstein has overseen initiation of a theme-based approach to programming including a series of successful festivals and specials that, supported by aggressive new marketing initiatives, led to a 7.5% increase in gross ticket revenues in 2006. Also during Bronstein’s tenure, a new recording relationship with Hyperion Records was inaugurated resulting in the Dallas Symphony’s highly successful Rachmaninoff CD – recipient of the prestigious Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award for 2005 and a new partnership secured with Performance Today for national broadcast of selected Dallas Symphony Orchestra performances.
Bronstein’s departure will leave the DSO with a clearer direction for the future, having announced the appointment of Jaap van Zweden as music director (beginning in September 2008).
(In the interest of full disclosure, my father Mark Melson is employed by the DSO.)