Tucson Symphony Orchestra Names Thomas J. McKinney President and CEO

by Tucson Symphony

Thomas J. McKinney has been named President and CEO of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra it was announced today by Board Chair Cecile Follansbee.

Mr. McKinney was appointed Vice President of Development in September 2015. He has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit organizations. He has worked in strategic business development, fundraising and program development/implementation for several organizations, most recently for ten years as President and CEO for Make-A-Wish Minnesota, where he and his team led the foundation in growth of funds raised and wishes granted. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Capella University. Music plays an important role in his life, with one of his children being an accomplished percussionist.

Under Mr. McKinney’s leadership corporate sponsorships, foundation support and individual giving have experienced significant growth and he was heavily involved with the symphony’s new three-year strategic plan to engage, educate and transform our community with music. 

“Tom’s experience in development and management makes him a perfect fit for the TSO,” commented Follansbee. “His love of this community, his belief in the power of music and strong leadership skills are exactly right for the Tucson Symphony at this time.”

Mr. McKinney, a New England native, has strong ties to Tucson. He lived in Tucson in the 1980s when he was the cast manager for Up with People. His wife, Dee Dee Connel, is from Tucson. She attended Canyon del Oro High School and played bassoon in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra before she went to Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. Many members of her family still reside in Tucson.

The first professional symphony orchestra in the Southwest, the TSO is the longest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona, where it impacts more than 120,000 lives each year. The TSO infuses $20 million into the economy of Southern Arizona annually and employs over 75 professional musicians who live and teach in Tucson and perform here and throughout the state.