PITTSBURGH— The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced today that Senior Vice President and COO Michael Bielski will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 season after 25 years with the organization.
“I am proud to have worked for this organization for so many years,” said Bielski. “I am honored to have been a part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s growth and success, and to be able to help forge the symphony’s partnerships with colleges and universities and with many community organizations and cultural institutions across the tri-state area. I will treasure the experiences I have had and friendships I have made here always.”
Bielski joined the orchestra in September 1990 as orchestra general manager and was promoted to vice president and then to senior vice president and chief operating officer.
A Boston-area native, Bielski was recruited by Gideon Toeplitz to come to the Pittsburgh Symphony. Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, Bielski worked at the Buffalo Philharmonic, where he served as co-executive director. During his years in Pittsburgh, Bielski has worked closely with musicians, trustees and administration on a variety of efforts and initiatives, including many community partnerships such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra series at West Virginia University and the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle. When the late Marvin Hamlisch became principal pops conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1995, Bielski collaborated closely with Hamlisch and his family to support the creative vision that Hamlisch brought to Pittsburgh. Over the years, Bielski managed the orchestra’s many international tours, including tours of South America, Europe, Asia and the Pittsburgh Symphony’s performance at the Vatican in January 2004 for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration. That historic concert, conducted by Sir Gilbert Levine, marked the first time a U.S. orchestra had performed at the Vatican.
“Michael’s contributions to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cannot be overstated. His impact on this organization has been immense over the years and his steady leadership has enabled the orchestra to grow its artistic excellence, community impact and reputation,” said Jim Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony. “Now he has once again put the needs of the symphony first by allowing us time to conduct a thorough and thoughtful search for his replacement over the next year. I will confer with Board leadership about steps and timing to fill the position. Thank you, Michael, for your unending dedication, commitment and love for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.”