Wednesday, Mar 13 2013 04:02 PM

Burrow gets down to business for BSO

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    Bryan Burrow, the full-time president and CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.

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BY SUSAN SCAFFIDI Contributing writer

Bryan Burrow is bringing a private sector point of view to the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.

"I wanted to get into the management segment of things and do things that I believe in," Burrow said. "To help a nonprofit operate as a good business is an intriguing opportunity."

Burrow became the full-time president and CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra on March 1, after serving in part-time role since June.

Burrow had been serving on the BSO board of directors for the past three years, ultimately serving as the board's treasurer. His job now is to implement the mission of the BSO, while also "re-branding" the organization to attract a new audience.

"Our mission is to host great concerts for the widest possible audience, and education for our children," Burrow said.

Burrow said that will translate into an enormous outreach effort, to the core, longtime audience, to donors and to young people and their children, to build the audience of the future. Burrow has already made himself a public presence to all of those constituents. In last fall's Young People's concerts, Burrow appeared as a "guest soloist" with the orchestra, performing on the typewriter in a performance of Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter."

"I said to the kids, 'Before there was a computer, there was this,'" Burrow said, indicating the typewriter.

At February's subscription concert, Burrow made a presentation to a woman who celebrated her 95th birthday by attending the concert. Burrow said the patron also attended the BSO's very first concert in 1932.

"We're trying to embrace the history that we have and bring some new energy to our organization," Burrow said.

Burrow oversaw the revamping of the BSO's website, including a new, contemporary-looking logo, which went online on March 1, and he has been speaking to various organizations about funding for new educational activities for schoolchildren.

While trying to build up outside participation, Burrow said he has also been reviewing the orchestra's finances.

"I'm looking at everything asking, 'Why do we do that?'" Burrow said.

Burrow calls Texas his home state, but has lived in Bakersfield since 1997, after an intermediate stay in Stockton. His private sector career locally has included a stint as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo from December 1998 to September 2005, and vice president/senior client manager at Bank of America from September 2005 to March 2011.

Burrow worked as a private business and financial consultant from August 2012 until the present time. He earned his MBA in finance and MIS from CSUB, and has been active in several organizations, including Rotary, CSUB Alumni Association, Leadership Bakersfield, the Kern County Nut Festival as well as the BSO board.

Listening to Burrow talk about the orchestra, it becomes apparent he is also a cheerleader -- for the BSO. Burrow said he plans to use experience and community involvement to connect with individuals and organizations to get them to support the orchestra, with money and also with attendance.

"This is about building relationships," Burrow said. "Bakersfield is all about relationships, and so am I."

"I'm just excited about the symphony," Burrow said. "We've got a great orchestra."

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