President & CEO Marie-Helene Bernard Extends Contract with St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced earlier this fall a three-year extension of Marie-Hélène Bernard's contract as President & CEO through 2021. Bernard, appointed in 2015, begins her third season with the SLSO.
Highlights during Bernard's tenure include developing and implementing a five-year strategic plan, achieving a balanced cash operating budget for the first time this century, and increasing overall ticket revenue and sales for two years in a row. Additionally, the SLSO has reported solid growth in philanthropic support, including record annual campaign results. With Bernard's leadership, the SLSO has also secured a new five-year labor contract with the American Federation of Musicians, Local 2-197, and has appointed its 13th Music Director, Stéphane Denève, whose tenure begins with the 2019/2020 season.
Barry Beracha, Chair of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees said: "Since 2015, Marie-Hélène has endeared herself to the St. Louis community. She has demonstrated a clear and unwavering commitment to our Orchestra and to this city. Under her guidance, the SLSO has achieved a whirlwind of achievements from the enhancement of our financial stability, the continuation and advancement of our tradition of artistic excellence, to our deepening engagement in the St. Louis community. Her strategic approach to planning and execution has been very effective. She is the ideal leader for the SLSO. We are eager and excited to continue our work together."
Norman Eaker, Chair-Elect of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, succeeding Mr. Beracha in October 2017, said: "We knew early on that Marie-Hélène Bernard's experience and talent were exceptional. What we have come to appreciate, is her deep passion for the art form and for the St. Louis community. What has already been accomplished on her watch is remarkable, and I see a very bright future for the SLSO and for Marie-Hélène. It has been a true pleasure to work alongside her, and I'm thrilled to support her and the SLSO efforts going forward."
Marie-Hélène Bernard said: "I am very excited to continue this partnership with the SLSO. It is an honor to lead one of America's finest and most innovative orchestras. I feel deep gratitude for the opportunity to continue working alongside an outstanding team of dedicated professionals and with our very supportive patrons. Together we will strive to increase the orchestra's crucial role to bring the community together through the power of music."
Prior to her appointment with the SLSO, Bernard held the position of Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, which is the nation's oldest continuously performing arts organization. She has also served as Chief of Staff, Project Manager, and Orchestra Manager for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra Manager for the Cleveland Orchestra, and President and CEO of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra. Bernard began her career in orchestra management in 1996, having completed residencies with the New York Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestra. A Québec native, Bernard holds a Law Degree from Montreal University and a Master's degree in arts management from Montreal's Concordia University. Prior to her career in orchestra management, she practiced corporate and tax law in Canada and remains a member of the Québec Bar Association. She serves on the boards of the United Way, Regional Chamber of Commerce and the National Electronic Media Association. Recent honors include receiving the A-List Award for "Arts Leader" (2016) from St. Louis Magazine and as one of the "Most Influential Business Women" (2016), by the St. Louis Business Journal.
Founded in 1880 and now in its 138th season, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country and widely considered one of the world's finest. Under the leadership of Music Director David Robertson, currently in his 13th season, the SLSO has achieved artistic excellence, educational impact and community connection while meeting its mission statement: enriching people's lives through the power of music. The SLSO presents a full season of classical programs and Live at Powell Hall concerts and hundreds of free education and community programs each year. Media partners include St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 -KWMU, which broadcasts the SLSO's Saturday night subscription concerts live + The Nine Network, which regularly features SLSO performances on its Night at the Symphony program. In addition, the SLSO is known for its Grammy Award-winning recordings, Carnegie Hall appearances, national and international tours, innovative programming and extensive community engagement initiatives. Visit slso.org for more information.