Peter Pastreich Appointed Executirve Directory of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra San Francisco
Veteran orchestra leader Peter Pastreich has been appointed executive director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra [PBO] effective June 1, 2009, it was announced today by Paul Sugarman, President of the Board. Pastreich’s four-decade career as an orchestra leader includes executive positions with the San Francisco Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and, most recently, a successful international consulting and teaching practice.
“I want to thank my colleagues on the board of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for their strong commitment to this institution and congratulate the members of our search committee for a job well done. All of us on the Board are tremendously excited about Peter’s wealth of experience and his tremendous love of music. We know great things are ahead for PBO and we are pleased to welcome him to the Robert A. Birman Executive Director Chair.” - Paul Sugarman, President of the Board
Peter Pastreich served as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony during its period of most dramatic growth, from April 1978 to April 1999 – a tenure of 21 years marked by numerous historic accomplishments and working partnerships with music directors Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt and Edo De Waart. He represented the San Francisco Symphony in the planning and construction of Davies Symphony Hall, which opened in September 1980, and in the successful acoustical and architectural renovation of the hall in 1992. Under his leadership, the orchestra dramatically increased its budget, income from ticket sales and endowment, resulting in an unprecedented sixteen consecutive years of balanced budgets. Highlights of his tenure include the founding of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, the launch of the Symphony’s acclaimed Adventures in Music education program, numerous recording contracts and the release of forty recordings, syndicated radio broadcasts on over 450 stations across the country, and a significant touring program throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
From the beginning of his career in orchestra management, Pastreich has been passionately devoted to education and to mentoring young professionals in the field. For the past ten years, Pastreich has served as a leader in this area organizing and directing the “Essentials of Management” seminar for the League of American Orchestras. In addition, he developed an international consulting practice that included clients such as the Berlin Philharmonic, London’s South Bank and The Detroit Symphony, among others.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1938, Pastreich graduated from Yale University in 1959. He studied the trumpet at Yale and in Paris and began his management career as a student by organizing and managing the Yale University Band's European Tour of 1959, the first such tour ever made by an American college band. In 1999, he was made a chevalier des arts et des lettres by the French government and was awarded the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton Award.
Under the direction of Music Director Nicholas McGegan, PBO has been described by the New York Times as “an early music orchestra as fine as any in the world today,” and was named “Ensemble of the Year” for 2004 by Musical America. Writing about that award in Musical America, the San Francisco Chronicle’s music critic Joshua Kosman said, “This adventuresome band has carved out a niche as the nation’s liveliest purveyor of period performances. The uncommon brilliance of its instrumental playing infuses the historical-performance enterprise with a vitality and zest that are worlds removed from dull conformity to the dictates of scholarship.”
“I’m delighted that Peter Pastreich will join me in leading this wonderful institution. After an international search, we found the perfect candidate – one recognized as the dean of American orchestra leaders – right in our own hometown. In Peter, we’ve found an enormously experienced and insightful orchestra manager who has always made the music central to his leadership vision. I look forward to what will surely be a very rewarding partnership.” - Music Director Nicholas McGegan
Dedicated to historically informed performances of Baroque, Classical and early Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981, PBO offers a subscription season of 32 concerts in four Bay Area cities, regularly tours the United States and Europe and is among the most recorded period-instrument orchestras in the world.