When Kim Noltemy arrived in North Texas to head up the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in January 2018, the DSO had had a rough few years beforehand. Bill Lively had resigned as CEO due to health concerns just four months after taking on the role of president and CEO in 2011. His successor Jonathan Martin lasted five years (2012-2017). That news coincided with DSO Maestro Jaap van Zweden‘s announcement that he was headed to the Big Apple for the New York Philharmonic.
But Kim had a track record that made her seem an intriguing choice. Since being hired in 1996 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she had risen from director of sales and marketing to chief operating officer and communications officer for the BSO, the Boston Pops and Tanglewood. During that time she oversaw more than $46M in ticket sales and other earned revenue plus a corporate sponsorship program of $6M annually, as well as other outreach programs.
Upon her hiring here, Dallas Symphony Association President/CEO Sanjiv Yajnik said, “Kim comes to the Dallas Symphony with decades of experience at one of the world’s top orchestras. She combines a profound knowledge of orchestra management with a stellar reputation for growing an orchestra’s brand in and beyond its hometown. We welcome Kim to Dallas, and we look forward to working with her to continue the DSO’s commitment to artistic excellence, while re-imagining what an orchestra can be.”
Since that time Kim has hired DSO Music Director Fabio Luisi to a five-year contract and extended it to 10 years during the first year of his tenure; taken over the management of DSO’s homebase Meyerson Symphony Center; improved the financial stability of the DSO in each of the first three fiscal years of her tenure, reducing the DSO’s long-held structural operative deficit; collaborated with other non-profits for both the DSO and the Meyerson; and literally breathed new life into the symphony organization.
Then the pandemic struck in early 2020. As arts groups across the country were gut-punched, Kim relied on her experience of promotion, relationships and business savviness to salvage the situation. Realizing that the Meyerson like other venues was off-limits for months, Kim immediately shifted to bringing the music to various audiences by utilizing online programs as well as collaborating with The Concert Truck to hold pop-up concerts at NorthPark Center, Klyde Warren Park, hospitals, etc.
And when the pandemic eased just enough for the Meyerson to be available again, with restrictions, Kim created game-changing opportunities for non-profits and others to use the wide-open spaces of the lobby for restriction-friendly gatherings.
Thanks to Kim, both the DSO and the city were helping each other to recover from the devastating crisis.
All these developments have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by the DSA board. Last Thursday, the DSA Board of Governors and Trustees revealed “a new $7.5M fundraising initiative that will continue the momentum of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and support the ongoing innovation and artistic excellence it is currently pursuing.” To prove how committed they are to the undertaking, $6.5M has already been raised.
In honor of Kim, the effort will be called the Kim Noltemy Young Musicians Initiative.
As DSA Board of Governors Chair Cece Smith put it, “In her role as President and CEO, Kim Noltemy has been the driving force behind numerous achievements. This campaign signals a strong statement from the DSO’s Executive Board and the broader DSO family about our confidence in Kim’s leadership and the direction in which she is taking the organization. Her exceptional leadership and vision have been instrumental in creating an unprecedented level of success and excitement for the DSO, particularly as she led the organization through the challenges of the pandemic.”
The following people and organizations have already stepped up to support the initiative:
- Leadership Gifts: Diane and Hal Brierley, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, The Jeanne R. Johnson Foundation, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, the O’Donnell Foundation, Margot Perot, Stan Rabin in Loving Memory of Barbara Rabin and Martha McCarty Wells
- Patron Gifts: Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Capital One and Cece Smith and Ford Lacy
- Supporting Gifts: Rebecca and Ron Gafford, Marena and Roger Gault, Linda and Mitch Hart, Yon Yoon Jorden, Holly and Tom Mayer, The Brian J. Ratner Foundation, Robinson Family, Diana and Sam Self, Norma and Don Stone, Becky and Brad Todd and Karen and Jim Wiley