The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has hired the Cleveland Orchestra’s Jennifer Barlament as executive director, its top administrative position. She starts work Jan. 1.
She will replace Terry Neal, an ASO board member and retired Coca-Cola Co. executive who is serving as president on an interim basis. Neal replaced Stanley Romanstein, the ASO president and CEO who resigned in September 2014 in the midst of a musicians’ strike and lockout.
As general manager of the Cleveland Orchestra, Barlament has been responsible for all facilities, orchestra operations, touring, media, front-of-house operations and collective bargaining. She has Georgia ties and more than 15 years of orchestra experience.
Barlament has worked as executive director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Michigan (2009-13), as general manager of the Omaha Symphony in Nebraska (2002-09) and as concert manager of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2000-03). She has had fellowships with the San Francisco, New Jersey and Detroit symphonies and worked for a time as director of special projects with the Detroit orchestra.
She’s a musician by training, with a bachelor’s degree in music (and physics) from Emory University and a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. There, she founded the New Eastman Symphony and, in 2013, was awarded the Helen M. Thompson Award by the League of American Orchestras. The award recognized her “exceptional leadership, dedication and accomplishment.”
“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,” Barlament said in a statement released by the ASO. “It is especially poignant for me to come home to Georgia to serve a city and an orchestra that I love, working with Robert Spano, one of the great original thinkers in American classical music.”
The ASO begins its 71st season on Sept. 17 with Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. This also marks the 15th season of the artistic partnership between Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles.