West Michigan Symphony selects Executive Director

Muskegon, Michigan, Nov. 6, 2017 – Muskegon’s West Michigan Symphony (WMS) will have a new executive director at the helm come the new year.

After nearly a decade with Symphony Tacoma in Washington State, Andy Buelow has notified stakeholders that he will be joining the West Michigan Symphony in January as its new Executive Director and has begun planning the transition and timing of a move to Muskegon with his wife, Beth. His predecessor, Carla Hill, stepped down in June and Kay Olthoff has been acting as WMS Interim Executive Director.

“I am thrilled that Andy will be joining the WMS team.” said Olthoff, “Combining his expertise with our forward thinking staff will certainly bring a vibrant energy to the organization.”

A committee composed of WMS board members, staff, musicians, and other key partners conducted a national search over the course of three months, where Buelow was identified as the top candidate for the job.

“The search committee and WMS Board of Directors are convinced Andy is just the right person to lead West Michigan Symphony.” said Pete Brown, chair of the board, “His career progression demonstrates solid understanding of both operational and leadership aspects that are key to successful growth of symphony orchestras. Andy’s passion for musical arts and his love for West Michigan assure a bright future for the symphony.”

With a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Wisconsin’s prestigious Lawrence University, Buelow has a history of strengthening symphonic arts organizations. He joined Symphony Tacoma in 2007 from Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra; prior to his appointment in Traverse City, he served as Director of Public Relations for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

For Buelow, relocating to Michigan is a sort of homecoming. “I love West Michigan and have missed it for years,” said Buelow, “and as I visited Muskegon, met the Board and staff, and heard the orchestra in rehearsal, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I have long been familiar with Maestro Scott Speck’s dynamic artistic leadership, and the opportunity to partner with him is compelling. Muskegon is clearly a community on the go, and WMS is a leader of this growth. I look forward to joining the team.”

The WMS orchestra, led by Music Director Scott Speck, is in the midst of its 78th season, producing five masterworks and three pops concerts each year at the historic Frauenthal Theater. In 2013 the WMS became the parent organization to The Block, a small performance venue in downtown Muskegon which presents its own 12-concert season featuring a wide-array of musical genres. Buelow will provide leadership to both organizations in areas such as staff development, fundraising, public relations and programming.

“The Executive Director is one of my most valued artistic partners.” Said Scott Speck, “Andy Buelow has shown me that he can be a co-conspirator in the best sense of the word. He is not only highly skilled, but also passionate about our mission. He is extraordinarily excited about our orchestra and community, and he’s eager to use his expertise to help us grow. I’m thrilled to welcome Andy, and I look forward to his partnership and energy to build on the West Michigan Symphony’s amazing legacy.”

Buelow will begin his tenure with the WMS Jan.15, 2018, and he will be introduced to symphony patrons at the Jan. 12 “Germanic Classics” concert. More information about the symphony can be found at westmichigansymphony.org.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts