Isaac Thompson

President and CEO

Isaac Thompson

Isaac Thompson has advanced orchestras through artistic innovation, promoting inclusive leadership, and by embedding institutions more deeply into the fabric of their communities. He was appointed to the position of President & CEO at the Oregon Symphony, beginning in October 2023.

As Managing Director of the New York Philharmonic, Thompson was part of the leadership team that opened the newly renovated David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, and was part of the search committee that culminated in the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel as Music and Artistic Director. He helped navigate the Philharmonic through the pandemic, implementing programs that deepened connections with the New York City community and transforming the institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Thompson joined the Philharmonic as Vice President of Artistic Planning in 2017. During his six-year tenure, he developed two new contemporary music series, and was responsible for commissioning more than 30 world premieres including multidisciplinary works by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Julia Wolfe, and a collaboration with Tazewell Thompson exploring the Black experience as part of the first season of the new David Geffen Hall. He also oversaw touring activities, including the Philharmonic’s recent tours and residencies in Europe and Asia—the first American orchestra to return to those regions following the pandemic.

Thompson previously served as the director of artistic administration for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the Cincinnati May Festival where he partnered with artistic and executive leadership to bolster the orchestra’s profile both nationally and internationally, resulting in the CSO’s debut appearance at the BBC Proms and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Previously, he was the vice president of artistic planning for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Thompson has served on the boards of the League of American Orchestras and American Composers Forum since 2019 and was appointed to the board of trustees of Minnesota Public Radio in 2023.

A former violinist, Thompson received degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and University of Texas at Austin. He has performed at the Aspen, Round Top, Great Mountains (Korea), Opera and Music and Theater of Lucca (Italy) festivals.