Pastreich on the differences and similarities of leading an orchestra and a ballet troupe

Posted on: September 20, 2019

“Michael Pastreich spent more than a decade serving as the president and CEO of the Florida Orchestra,” writes Laura Spitalniak in the September 9 Washington Business Journal (D.C.; subscription required). “Prior to that he was CEO of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Now, he’s the new executive director of the Washington Ballet…. Q: Have you noticed a significant difference between leading an orchestra and a dance company? A: … The most fundamental difference … is the role of the artistic director. A music director tends to come in 10 weeks a year and they’re available on the phone. They try to come in between concerts but they have a career … all over the world. An artistic director [at a ballet company] is here … every single day…. Q: How do you pitch classical music or ballet to someone who doesn’t have a background in either? A: I’ve noticed in the symphony world, the number of people who fell in love with the symphony or it was transformative for them after they lost a loved one … I tried to bring them to the symphony as a way of finding a light in life. In general, my assumption is that symphony and dance speak for themselves.”

Posted September 20, 2019