Key Leadership Biographies
Chief Executive Officer
Matthew Spivey joined the San Francisco Symphony in 2015 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in September 2022, following a year in the position of Interim CEO.
As CEO, Spivey has overseen the Symphony’s post-pandemic recovery. While Interim CEO during the 2021–22 season, Spivey worked closely with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra to bring audiences the first complete performance season since Salonen became Music Director in 2020. The 2021–22 season also saw the release of two of signature digital projects led by Salonen—Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, created in collaboration with acclaimed British director, designer, and video artist Netia Jones; and LIGETI: PARADIGMS, a performance merging avant-garde classical music and Artificial Intelligence (AI), created in partnership with media artist Refik Anadol, Dolby Laboratories, and SF Symphony Collaborative Partner Carol Reiley.
In March 2022, the San Francisco Symphony embarked on its first international tour with Esa-Pekka Salonen—and the Orchestra’s first international tour since 2016—with performances at the Philharmonie in Paris, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. The international performances launched a new touring model, bringing the full breadth of the San Francisco Symphony’s innovative programming and educational initiatives to immersive four-day residencies in Paris (March 9–12) and Hamburg (March 14–17) as part of a multi-year symphonic and cultural exchange between the San Francisco Symphony and each of the cities.
In his prior role as Chief Programming Officer, Spivey was instrumental in the appointment and launch of conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Orchestra’s twelfth Music Director, shaping a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape.
Since the introduction of the San Francisco Symphony’s groundbreaking artistic leadership model in 2020, Spivey has worked closely with Salonen and the Orchestra’s eight Collaborative Partners—Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding—to explore and develop new ideas inspired by the Partners’ unique areas of expertise, including innovative digital projects, expansive and imaginative performance concepts in a variety of concert formats, commissions of new music, and projects that foster collaboration across artistic and administrative areas.
As San Francisco Symphony Director of Artistic Planning from 2015–2019, Matthew Spivey worked with Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas in setting the Orchestra’s artistic direction, overseeing programming for the Orchestra’s 31-week subscription season, recording projects, commissioning programs, the SF Symphony Chorus, tours, and festivals, while providing artistic direction for the SF Symphony’s 200+ concerts and presentations each season.
Before joining the San Francisco Symphony in 2015, Spivey served as the vice president and general manager of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In that role, Spivey managed all aspects of artistic planning and concert production with oversight of education and public relations activity. Prior to that, he served as that organization’s vice president of artistic operations. Spivey previously held positions with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He studied clarinet at the New England Conservatory and received an Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington.