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University Circle Inc. Leadership


Gary Hanson

Interim President, University Circle Inc.

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Gary Hanson retired in 2018 following 44-year career in the classical music industry in the U.S. and Canada. He has served as Interim President of University Circle Inc. since October, 2021.

In Cleveland as well as state-wide, Mr. Hanson has been recognized for his leadership and achievements. In 2016 he received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio for Arts Administration. He was subsequently appointed to the Board of the Ohio Arts Council by Governor John Kasich. Gary Hanson was a member of the 2001 class of Leadership Cleveland, and he is a recipient of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Distinguished Service Award to honor exemplary service.

Mr. Hanson has served as board member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (now Arts Cleveland), the Arts and Culture Action Committee, University Circle Incorporated, and Global Cleveland. Internationally, He is an officer of the Glenn Gould Foundation, Inc, and member of the jury of the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductor Award of the Salzburg Festival.

Mr. Hanson joined the staff of The Cleveland Orchestra in 1988 and served in a number of positions over a 28-year tenure. His achievements include the renovation and restoration of Severance Hall and the redevelopment of Blossom Music Center. From 2004 until his retirement at the end of 2015, he served as the Orchestra’s eighth Executive Director during which time the Orchestra expanded its activities internationally; developed new audiences and concert series; and established a neighborhood residency program that took the ensemble into Northeast Ohio communities

After retiring from The Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Hanson led two major music organizations on an interim basis. In 2016, he was Interim President of the Cleveland Institute of Music for a period of six months; subsequently he served two years as Interim CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Gary Hanson was born in Toronto and studied music in Canada, completing his education in Germany. Returning to Canada in 1974, he worked as an administrator and performer in regional orchestras before moving to the United States to join the staff of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Gary Hanson and his wife, Barbara Klante, are naturalized U.S. citizens residing in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

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