Detroit Symphony Orchestra CEO Announces Retirement

After 18 years of leading the organization, President and CEO Anne Parsons announced plans to retire by November 2022


Responsible for the appointment of music directors Leonard Slatkin in 2007 and Jader Bignamimi in 2020, Parsons has guided the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) through the global pandemic and economic turmoil.

Prior to joining the organization, Parsons was the general manager of the New York City Ballet. She initially arrived at the DSO when it faced a $2.2 million deficit, and successfully led it in eight operating surpluses from 2013-2020.

Since 2018, Parsons has been managing the DSO as she undergoes treatment for lung cancer. She is currently on medical leave to discuss new treatment protocols for her condition.

A search for the next president of the DSO will begin in Spring 2021.

“I have been honored to serve the remarkable Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the people of this vibrant and resilient city for the past 17 years,” Parsons said in a statement. “Even before my cancer diagnosis, I had been looking at my 65th birthday in 2022 as a favorable time to close this chapter of my life, and for the past two and half years, it has been my absolute joy to be able to balance work, life, and cancer treatments with full commitment, determination, and optimism.

"Everyone in the DSO family has been a source of critical strength and sustenance, from our dedicated and passionate governance and staff to our extraordinary DSO musicians and music director Jader Bignamini—whose performances together have filled me with so much happiness. I can never give enough recognition for all we have accomplished together.”

“Anne Parsons is a true leader who drives with passion, vision, and empathy,” added Mark Davidoff, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “During her tenure, Anne has successfully leveraged opportunities and navigated challenges, positioning our DSO for an extraordinarily bright future as one of the world’s finest orchestras. Simply put, we love Anne and look forward to celebrating her legacy as her retirement in 2022 approaches.”