Diana Weir, Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) will leave her job in January to take up a newly created vice presidency at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO).
Hamilton’s loss will be Toronto’s gain as Diana Weir, currently Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, takes up a brand new position at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her title will be Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, a newly created role.
Diana will take up her new position on January 19, 2020.
She leaves the HPO in an enviable state. In 2019, the orchestra’s budget shot past $2 million for the first time since 1995, and has enjoyed five straight years of budget surpluses.
Weir, however, downplays her own role in guiding the orchestra to its current successes. She credits HPO’s Artistic Director Gemma New, as well as to her predecessor as Executive Director, Carol Kehoe.
“She (Carol) had really re-established programmatic stability, and I just tried to carry on that momentum,” Weir told a reporter with the Hamilton Spectator.
HPO board chair Anne Tennier also spoke to the Hamilton Spectator. “Diana has been a big part of our success, and we’ll miss her, but she’s done a wonderful job of mentoring.”
Kim Varian will take over as interim Executive Director on January 6, 2020. Varian was formerly the director of communications and development.
Weir was in Ottawa when she got the news. The trip to the nation’s capital to work with National Arts Centre Orchestra general manager Marc Stevens and others was part of a Canada Council award she received back in March 2019. Weir was granted one of two John Hobday Awards for Arts Management in the amount of $10,000 for Mentorship. The awards recognize the talent that goes into arts management by funding professional development or mentorship opportunities. Diana was in Ottawa to study how the principles used in managing larger institutions can be downscaled to regional orchestras like the HPO.
Diana Weir holds a Combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music & Cultural Studies/Critical Theory from McMaster University, and completed the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program.
When she leaves the role in January 2020, Weir will have spent nearly seven years with the HPO in various roles. She began her career there in the role of Partnerships Manager in 2013, with a stint as Director, Communications and Development before taking on the duties of Executive Director in January 2017. Prior to joining the HPO as staff, she served as Music Director of the Dundas Baptist Church and Church of St. John/St. Andrews, and as Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for three years from 2010 to 2013. Weir worked for the Canadian Opera Company for three years as Programming Coordinator, Education and Outreach, and began her career in arts administration with the Faustwork Mask Theatre in 2008.
Diane learned to play piano as a child, and her passion for the arts is fuelled by a love of music, as she told a McMaster Daily News reporter in an interview. “I knew I needed music to be part of my life in some way and that it was something that really spoke to me as an individual.”