Robert Moir, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's senior vice president of artistic planning and audience engagement, is leaving the organization following 26 years at Heinz Hall. His position is a significant one – arguably the most important on the PSO's management side in shaping the artistic direction of the orchestra. It's another big staff change at the symphony, whose president/CEO Jim Wilkinson and senior vice president/COO Michael Bielski are retiring this summer.
Mr. Moir, who had been on sabbatical since December, was responsible for representing the PSO to the industry and spotting new talent – whether booking solo artists and conductors, arranging international tours or programming concerts. Much of that work happens years before a performance actually takes place.
In an interview Thursday, Mr. Moir said he traveled 100,000 miles from 2002-2008 in search of new artistic leadership for the orchestra. (Manfred Honeck became music director in 2008.) He also prided himself on having introduced fresh talent to the U.S., including Andris Nelsons, who conducted his first subscription concert on American soil with the PSO and is now music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Moir plans to recalibrate his work-life balance, focus on family, and put his industry knowledge to use as a consultant.
"I'm very satisfied with what I was able to do for the Pittsburgh Symphony, and I know that the organization will continue to thrive, and that is my fondest wish," he said.
Congratulations to Mr. Moir on his career at the symphony.
Mr. Wilkinson sent the organization an email, obtained by the Post-Gazette, that included Mr. Moir's announcement:
While my time as President is winding down, this is one of the most unfortunate emails I have been asked to send. While I certainly wish him well, his decision is our loss.
Dear friends and colleagues:
Last December I began a sabbatical which has been very beneficial for me and my family. It has been a wonderful time of reflection and contemplation. This process has allowed me to do a thorough re-evaluation of my priorities and plans.
As a result, I have decided to retire from the Pittsburgh Symphony. It has been my honor and privilege to work with Music Directors Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, and Manfred Honeck. I have the utmost respect for Jim Wilkinson, Dick Simmons, Tom Todd, the Trustees of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and my colleagues on the staff present and past. I would specifically like to thank Jim Wilkinson, Katie McGuiness, Jesse Montgomery, Yonca Karakilic, Alison Bolton, and Shelly Fuerte for their steadfast support of me, and of the PSO's artistic excellence.
And to the gifted musicians of the PSO, please know how much I admire and respect you. The very best thing about working here has been listening to you play literally thousands of concerts over a quarter of a century, in Heinz Hall and around the world. These have given immeasurable joy. And I will look forward to listening to many more in the future.
The orchestra is the cultural crown jewel of Pittsburgh, and one of the great orchestras of the world. I am honored to have been a part of it for twenty-six years, and I will always wish for its continued success and prosperity.
Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Engagement