Toronto Symphony Orchestra Announces Two New Board Members

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and John Gerhardt, Global Creative Director for Moët Hennessy, bring significant expertise to the TSO

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is pleased to announce the election of two new members to its Board of Directors, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell and John Gerhardt. Board members voted enthusiastically to elect both Dowdeswell and Gerhardt for a three-year term, effective immediately. These new directors join the TSO during the concluding months of its highly successful Year 101 concert season, which marks a pivotal moment for the organization as it enters its second century of artistic distinction, music education, and service to its many diverse communities.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Elizabeth and John to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors,” said TSO Board Chair Catherine Beck. “A devoted public servant with international experience and a creative business leader operating at the highest levels of the private sector, respectively, their experience, vision and know-how will strengthen our ability to reach new heights."

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

As the longest-serving Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (2014–2023), The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell carried out thousands of constitutional and ceremonial duties, and encouraged Ontarians to think deeply about their role as residents of a province and as global citizens. Ms. Dowdeswell’s eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal, and international borders and transcended disciplinary lines. She contributed globally as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In Canada, her diverse portfolios ranged from culture, the arts, and education, to the environment, science and technology, and management of public enquiries. She was the founding president and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and later the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. She has served on the boards of numerous Canadian and international corporate and non-profit organizations. Ms. Dowdeswell holds a BSc in home economics and a teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan, an MSc in behavioural sciences from Utah State University, and 11 honorary doctorates. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and the recipient of numerous other distinctions and fellowships.

John Gerhardt

Described in the press as a “retailing visionary,” John Gerhardt is an international force in luxury branding and creative direction who has spent more than 25 years as a recognized innovator. As the Paris-based Global Creative Director for Moët Hennessy (LVMH), he advises the CEO and the head of M&A on how to leverage branding and creative to increase the value of the $7-billion portfolio of 27 Maisons, including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon, and others. As SVP of Branding and Creative for DFS/T Galleria from 2012 to 2019 in Hong Kong and New York, Gerhardt led the rebranding of the multi-billion-dollar luxury retailer, monetizing marketing campaigns for brands such as Estée Lauder, Tiffany, Dior, Burberry and Hermès. From 2004 to 2011, he was at the fashion helm of retail in Canada as the Creative Director of Holt Renfrew (Selfridges Group), where he spearheaded a highly successful rebranding. In recognition, Time magazine Style & Design included Gerhardt in “The Design 100—The People and Ideas Behind Today’s Most Influential Design”. Besides Time Magazine, Gerhardt has been featured in Architectural Digest, The Globe and Mail, Le Figaro, WWD, Fashion Television and The Coveteur.

The TSO acknowledges Mary Beck as the Musicians’ Patron in perpetuity for her generous and longstanding support.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

The TSO is grateful for the support of the Toronto Symphony Foundation and all levels of government, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario.

Media Contact

For media requests please contact:

Tat Read, Senior Director of Communications

Toronto Symphony Orchestra


About Toronto Symphony Orchestra

For over a century, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. Now in our 101st year, the TSO’s commitment to musical excellence and ability to spark connection remain as strong as ever. With a storied history of acclaimed concerts and recordings, Canadian and international tours, and impactful community partnerships, we are dedicated to engaging and enriching local and national communities through vibrant musical experiences. Music Director Gustavo Gimeno brings an expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure to programming the nearly 100-musician orchestra that serves Toronto—one of the world’s most diverse cities. As a group of artists, teachers, and advocates who share the belief that music has the power to heal, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life, we engage audiences young and old through an array of education, community access and health and wellness initiatives. The 2023/24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the TSO-affiliated Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra—a tuition-free training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of Canadian artists. Join us for a concert at Roy Thomson Hall, or experience the TSO in your neighbourhood. Visit TSO.CA or


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