Arts & Entertainment and Human Resources

Grand Rapids Symphony names interim president and CEO

December 13, 2016
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Peter Perez
Peter Perez. Courtesy Grand Rapids Symphony/Terry Johnston

The Grand Rapids Symphony has announced its interim president and CEO.

The organization said today it has appointed Peter Perez — a local business owner, long-time friend of the symphony and immediate past board chair — to take the reins temporarily, while the symphony searches for a replacement for outgoing President and CEO Peter Kjome.

Kjome is leaving Grand Rapids to become president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, beginning Feb. 1.

Perez will begin his interim duties on Jan. 5. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s administrative staff during the search for a new leader.

Kate Pew Wolters, symphony board chair, said the organization “couldn’t be happier” to welcome Perez to the role.

“I can’t imagine anyone better qualified or more experienced to serve as interim president and CEO,” Wolters said. “His personal commitment to the Grand Rapids Symphony is second to none.”


Perez is the owner and chair of Carter Products Co. in Grand Rapids, which produces accessory equipment for the industrial woodworking machinery industry. He was formerly president of musical instrument makers C.G. Conn and Steinway & Sons and served as board chair of the Grand Rapids Symphony from 2013-2015.

The Indiana native and retired U.S. Navy officer is also a director of the Grand Valley State University Foundation and has served as a board member and executive committee member of The Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

Perez said he’s pleased to step into the executive role during the presidential search process.

“The Grand Rapids Symphony has accomplished so much in the past year, and the people of West Michigan can take pride in having one of the finest regional orchestras in the country here in their hometown,” Perez said. “Now we’re ready to make the most of these accomplishments. We can’t wait to write the next chapter in the Grand Rapids Symphony’s story.”

Search committee

The Grand Rapids Symphony Board of Directors has named Charles Frayer chair-elect and Mary Tuuk vice chair to lead and select the search committee.

Frayer is an office managing partner with Crowe Horwath, and Tuuk is a VP and chief compliance officer at Meijer.

The search committee — which will include musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony, members of its board, administrative staff and members of the community — will begin its work at the beginning of the year.

Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony, established in 1930, has a 40-week season and employs 80 full- and part-time musicians. With an annual budget of more than $9 million, the orchestra reaches 200,000 patrons per year.

The symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles.

Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses.

The Grand Rapids Symphony provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2017.

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