Courtesy Nashville Symphony

After a five-month nationwide search, Tucson Symphony Orchestra today announced that it has found its new CEO and president.

The orchestra tapped Nashville Symphony Orchestra Chief Operating Officer Mark Blakeman, who will introduce himself with the orchestra's 86th season opener Sept. 26. 

He replaces Andrew Birgensmith, who abruptly quit last March. Birgensmith had been on the job less than three years.

At Nashville, Blakeman overses the the 85-member Grammy-winning orchestra. The ensemble performs 160 concerts a year.

Blakeman supervises all aspects of the company including spearheading the orchestra's effort to build the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in the early 2000s. Following devastating floods in spring 2010, Blakeman led restoration of the Schermerhorn, which experienced $40 million in flood damage.

Blakeman also has taught courses in acoustics and music management at Oklahoma City University and Middle Tennessee State University, according to a TSO news release.

TSO officials said Blakeman is expected to come on board full time no later than Dec. 1.

See the full story in Friday's Star.