Calnin's background contrasts sharply with that of his predecessor, Paul Leung, a retired civil servant with no background in music. Calnin's previous positions include general manager of the U.K.'s Academy of Ancient Music, artistic administrator of the Ulster Orchestra, and artistic administrator of the Sydney Symphony. He has been an artistic consultant to the HKPO since January 2004.
Calnin is a longtime colleague of HKPO artistic director Edo de Waart, having worked with him when de Waart was music director of the Sydney Symphony.
"I have worked with Tim both at the Sydney Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic for more than eight years," de Waart said, "and he has shown himself to be someone with great intelligence, creativity and energy. He also has great knowledge of the musical world and a passion for music. I look forward to working with him in the years to come."
The appointment is a victory for de Waart, who was hired last year to raise the HKPO's international profile but has struggled with the Hong Kong bureaucracy over funding and governance issues.