Monday, September 22, 2008

Atlanta Ballet Brings Back Live Music!

Atlanta Ballet is pleased to announce that the 2008/2009 Season will feature the return of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra.

Patti Wallace, Trustee of the Atlanta Ballet, has stepped forward with a one-year gift of $200,000 to assist in bringing live music back to Atlanta Ballet performances. Kristine Robison, also an Atlanta Ballet Trustee, and her husband Michael have pledged $50,000 to sponsor the Conductor for 2008-2009 Season.

Last week, Atlanta Ballet reached an agreement with the Atlanta Federation of Musicians for a one-year pact to provide live music for select performances.

Swan Lake, the October season opener, February’s Dracula, a favorite of Atlanta audiences, and the May world premier of John McFall’s Don Quixote will feature live music at every performance. Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker will feature the orchestra during its opening weekend, December 5th, 6th and 7th.

“This is a very special occasion for us, as it has always been our intention to bring live music back to our performances,” says Barry Hughson, Atlanta Ballet’s Executive Director. “Because of this very generous contribution, we will be able to have live music back for a large part of our 2008-2009 Season. While this is an exciting step, we still have further to go, and need the support of the whole community, so that live music will be a part of every one of our performances in future seasons.”

Atlanta Ballet has been actively working on a multi-year business plan to bring long term financial stability to the organization. Atlanta Ballet’s Board of Directors made the decision to switch to digital music as a cost-saving measure in the summer of 2006. Shortly after that decision, a national search was launched for a new Executive Director. Hughson, a former professional dancer with a sixteen-year history in senior arts administration, was named to the position. Since taking the helm, Hughson completed negotiations on the sale of the organization’s midtown property, the purchase of their future headquarters at 1695 Marietta Boulevard, engineered the move to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and is leading the development and implementation of the five-year institutional business and fundraising plan.

“What a tremendous gift to the Atlanta Ballet and our city’s cultural community,” said John McFall Atlanta Ballet’s Artistic Director. “When I met Patti ten years ago, she was introduced to me as a ‘patron of the arts.’ This gesture illustrates what a genuine understanding she has as a leader in supporting the arts.”

McFall and Wallace met when Atlanta Ballet toured in Haywood, NC, where she has a home.
According to Wallace “I have been a fan of the Atlanta Ballet for years and while they hold a special place in my heart, this is a good business decision. The arts are vital in Atlanta’s emergence as a world-class city, and live music is an integral part of professional dance that will help grow our base of audiences and donors. I am proud to be able to provide the support to accelerate the return of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra.”

McFall went on to say that “the gift made by our generous patrons represents significant faith in the organization and the future of dance.”

Atlanta Ballet will perform Swan Lake at the Cobb Energy Centre October 23 to November 2. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 404-817-8700 or visit

Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is the longest continuously operating ballet company in the United States. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals.

Among Atlanta Ballet’s proud and unique 75-year history are its three Artistic Directors, Miss Dorothy Alexander, whose vision brought dance to the South; Robert Barnett, who turned Atlanta Ballet into a professional company; and currently, John McFall. Under McFall’s leadership Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance.

Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education in 1996 and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. With diverse class offerings and student population, the Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization.
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