President & CEO
Since becoming the Minnesota Orchestra’s President and CEO in September 2007, Michael Henson has spearheaded the complex process of planning and fundraising for the $50 million redevelopment of Orchestra Hall, a project for which design schematics were unveiled in April 2010 and groundbreaking will occur in June 2012.
Amidst a volatile economy, Henson has led the organization in a strategic planning process to create a Vision for a Sound Future—a newly-approved business plan that leads the organization to sustainability by 2013 while supporting great artistry and community outreach. While establishing stringent budget controls organization-wide, Henson has also strengthened the Orchestra’s global reputation through artistic activities including European tours, significant commissions, recording initiatives, the launch of a major BBC broadcast series for the Minnesota Orchestra and an innovative Music Downloads project. In October 2011, the Orchestra successfully debuted Common Chords—a multi-year Greater Minnesota community outreach initiative—that was conceived by Henson.
Serving as a CEO since age 30, Henson earned a reputation as one of the United Kingdom’s top symphonic leaders. For 17 seasons he headed first the Belfast-based Ulster Symphony (1992 to 1999) and the Bournemouth Symphony (1999 to 2007). He also served as chair of the Association of British Orchestras, the national body that represents the interests of all professional orchestras in the U.K.
A native of West Sussex, England, Henson studied composition and analysis at the Universities of Sheffield, Leicester and Reading, received a scholarship for further study in Vienna, and has published extensively on the perception of music. He and his wife Helen have three young children.