The San Diego Symphony Orchestra with conductor Jahja Ling. Courtesy of the symphony

San Diego Symphony’s chief operating officer Robert Wilkins Monday announced his retirement after more than 13 years of service.

Wilkins started his work in orchestra management with Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival in 1974. Throughout the years he has served with the St. Louis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra.

Wilkins has been a major force in both the development of the orchestra as well as the San Diego Symphony’s home, the Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego. During his tenure, Wilkins worked closely with Jahja Ling, music director of the San Diego Symphony, and together they were instrumental in creating and achieving the artistic and collaborative environment into which the orchestra has developed and grown today.

“Robert’s expertise and his vast musical knowledge and passion for our orchestra, along with his wit and humor have been a tremendous asset to the San Diego Symphony,” Martha Gilmer, CEO, said in a statement. “I know Robert counts his years in San Diego among the highlights of his career. He will always be a part of the San Diego Symphony family.”

Wilkins will step down from the position of COO sometime after June 30, 2016 but will take on the role of COO Emeritus through Jan. 31.

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