By Staff

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra announced the passing of longtime President and CEO Ann Koonsman on June 21, 2021, after having surmounted significant health challenges in her final years.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Ann Koonsman (courtesy: FWSO)

Koonsman served the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in multiple capacities during many years, as a violinist, VP of Development, and Executive Director of the FWSO in 1980, a position she held with distinction until her retirement in 2004. She returned to the FWSO in 2006 as President and CEO, a position she held until her second retirement in 2011.

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“On behalf of the FWSO board members, musicians, supporters and staff, we are heartbroken to hear of the passing of our beloved Ann Koonsman,” said Chairman of the Board Mercedes T. Bass. “As everyone knows, she was the best president the FWSO had. We are grateful for her passion, hard work and devotion in bringing the FWSO thus far through thick and thin! Ann will be missed but her memory will remain in our hearts and she will always be a part of the FWSO family.”

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Regarded as a “brilliant and multi-talented individual,” by her colleagues, Koonsman had an enormous impact on the FWSO’s growth from regional chamber orchestra to the nationally respected organization the FWSO is today. During her tenure, the FWSO was recognized as one of the most successful orchestras in its budget category with a $12 million balanced budget, a 45-week concert season and a $27 million endowment fund. Her administrative and fund-raising expertise created opportunities for the orchestra to perform international tours, produce numerous recordings and commissioning projects, and transition into Bass Performance Hall when the venue opened in 1998. She also founded the Concerts In The Garden Summer Music Festival in 1990 which continues to be a summer staple for families throughout the Metroplex more than thirty years later.

Among Koonsman’s many leadership qualities was her ability to collaborate. Her successful partnership with John Giordano, Sr. (now Music Director Emeritus of the FWSO) allowed for the dramatic improvement of artistic quality within the ensemble. She continued to embody the spirit of collaboration in her work with Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya (now Music Director Laureate) as he ushered in yet another era of rapid artistic growth for the orchestra.

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Her memorial service will be held on Friday, June 25 at 1 p.m. at Broadway Baptist Church at 305 West Broadway Avenue in Fort Worth. Staff