Symphony Tacoma announces new executive director

Karina Bharne. Photo courtesy of Symphony Tacoma

Symphony Tacoma has announced the appointment of Karina Bharne as its new executive director. Bharne replaces Andy Buelow, who left Symphony Tacoma in December after a decade in the role, and Kit Evans, who has served as interim executive director since January. Bharne’s tenure will begin in September in time for the Symphony’s season opening concert on Oct. 20.

“We were fortunate to have had an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, and even more fortunate to have been able to engage Karina Bharne to be Symphony Tacoma’s next executive director,” said Mike De Luca, president of the board of directors. “Karina’s strong experience and background, as well as the vibrant, thoughtful and innovative approach she brings to her work, have led to the successes she has had to this point in her career. She is perfectly positioned to lead Symphony Tacoma, in partnership with Maestra Sarah Ioannides, to achieving our aspirational vision of building community through music and becoming indispensable to our community.”

Bharne is experienced in all facets of orchestra administration. In her most recent role, she served as the interim executive director with the San Antonio Symphony, where she successfully stabilized operations during a time of significant organizational change. Her roles at San Antonio Symphony also included vice president/general manager and director of orchestra personnel. Prior to San Antonio, Bharne worked as the managing director of operations for the Goh Ballet in Vancouver, B.C., and in a variety of roles with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. A trained musician, she earned her BFA in trombone performance and MAM in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University.

 “I am honored to join Symphony Tacoma and partner with the musicians, chorus, board and staff to further the organization’s mission,” said Bharne. “I am excited to become more acquainted with the beautiful city of Tacoma and to continue building and strengthening the impact that the organization has on the community through meaningful collaborations, as well as furthering the strong artistic vision created by Maestra Ioannides.”

 In her free time, Bharne has been an active volunteer with Spay Neuter Inject Protect San Antonio (SNIPSA), an organization dedicated to helping create a sustainable animal population. She also enjoys running and cooking with her husband, Ilan Morgenstern, who is the bass trombonist for the Vancouver Symphony.

 The executive director search process was facilitated by Arts Consulting Group, a national provider of executive search and other services for the arts and culture industry. “ACG congratulates the many stakeholders involved in the search process who will benefit from Karina’s expertise and passion for classical music,” commented Peter Mraz, ACG associate vice president. 

Building community through music. Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition, Symphony Tacoma has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape for 70 years. In 2014, Symphony Tacoma welcomed Music Director Sarah Ioannides, whom the Los Angeles Times called “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.” Today’s Symphony Tacoma is a metropolitan professional symphony orchestra with more than 80 orchestral musicians and a volunteer chorus of 70. Keeping live musical performance alive in the heart of the region, Symphony Tacoma performs for an annual audience of nearly 20,000 citizens throughout Pierce County and the greater Puget Sound area.

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