Pennsylvania Ballet losing another leader

Michael G. Scolamiero
Michael G. Scolamiero
Posted: May 16, 2014

Pennsylvania Ballet's administrative leader is leaving. Michael G. Scolamiero, the ballet's executive director since 1997, has accepted the same post with Miami City Ballet.

The announcement comes two weeks after artistic director Roy Kaiser said he would step down as soon as a replacement is found. Both changes come as the ballet puts in place a strategic plan prepared by Michael M. Kaiser (not related to Roy) to bring the company, in Scolamiero's words, "back to the top ranks of American ballet companies."

Scolamiero will start in Miami June 30. A successor will not be sought until a new artistic director has been hired. The ballet has engaged an interim executive director for up to a year: David Gray, who held the same position with the American Repertory Ballet in Princeton.

"The timing is purely coincidental, coming on the heels of Roy's departure," said Scolamiero, 54, "but it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up, given how long I've been at Pennsylvania Ballet. It was probably - and my partner could confirm this, because I drove him crazy for two months - the most difficult decision I have made in my life, mainly because I care deeply for the organization here, and I didn't know when I was first speaking to them about this that Roy was stepping down, and it does complicate things here."

Gray will work with Scolamiero part-time before he leaves.

Scolamiero says he was lured by what Miami City Ballet has achieved since its founding in 1985 by the famed New York City Ballet dancer Edward Villella. He was succeeded in 2012 by Lourdes Lopez, another former New York City Ballet principal. All three companies are rooted in George Balanchine's work.

"I was really attracted to what they are doing in Miami, partly by working with Lourdes Lopez. I think she is really a dynamic leader," said Scolamiero. "It's a bigger company, more dancers, a bigger budget, and a higher profile."

Michael Kaiser, who is consulting with the ballet on a new artistic chief, said that already, there is "huge interest in the job from amazing people. My hope is one of them will be the right person."The ballet hopes to have that person named by fall.

Before coming to the ballet, Scolamiero was executive director of Philadelphia's Choral Arts Society and executive director of the West Jersey Chamber Music Society.


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