Baltimore Symphony chief quits

James Glicker, who was introduced as an unconventional problem-solver who would guide the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to new artistic heights and financial security, resigned yesterday as its president and chief executive officer just 18 months after being named to the post.

"It really was my decision to go," Glicker said last night. "It was a question of timing and how long I wanted to stay. I felt I got a lot done, turning around the orchestra's earned income, finding a new music director, increasing community involvement with the BSO."

His announcement comes months after the BSO received international attention for naming Marin Alsop as its next music director, becoming the first major American orchestra to be led by a woman. The BSO also is struggling to attract younger audiences and faces a deficit of about $12 million.

Glicker, who had never worked for a symphony orchestra before, was hired in January 2004 in the newly created post of chief marketing officer. He was hailed for his marketing experience with a diverse range of retail products, including yogurt and several Internet companies. He was named president in June of that year, succeeding longtime BSO head John Gidwitz.

Sporting a ponytail and earring, Glicker easily broke visual expectations for a symphony president. Many of his public comments also defied convention. Early on, he said he wanted to broaden the orchestra's audience beyond "wealthy old white people."

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