Financially strapped Orchestras of Pasadena names its crisis consultant the new CEO

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The financially strapped Orchestras of Pasadena -- created last year by a merger of the Pasadena Symphony and Pasadena Pops -- has named Paul Jan Zdunek to the position of chief executive.

Zdunek, a veteran arts manager, is currently president and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Assn. and is credited with leading that organization, as well as the State Theater (California), out of financial difficulties. He also trained as a conductor.

Zdunek’s appointment, announced today by Orchestras of Pasadena, grew out of the organization’s financial crisis, said board member Jean Horton, who has served for the last few weeks as the organization’s acting chief executive.

Zdunek, he said, had been brought in from Modesto as an independent consultant to aid in finding solutions to the budget crunch that has led to the recent layoffs of top executives, the cancellation of two concerts and a public appeal to raise funds to save the rest of the season’s scheduled concerts (read our full report).


‘We are definitely excited about having him down here,’ Horton said of Zdunek. ‘We think he brings a strong executive presence to the organization and will be extremely helpful in expanding our community base of operations.’

Does that mean fundraising? Yes, Horton said -- but of equal importance, damage control. ‘We have scared a lot of people by canceling those concerts,’ he said. ‘Our goal right now is to reassure people.’

-- Diane Haithman