Miami City Ballet has hired a new executive director to partner with artistic director Lourdes Lopez. Michael Scolamiero, who has led the Pennsylvania Ballet, will join the Miami troupe on June 30. He replaces Daniel Hagerty, who left MCB last month for family and personal reasons.
“I think the trajectory that Miami City Ballet is on and a city that is really vibrant and growing is very exciting,” Scolamiero said on Tuesday. “Lourdes has a really clear vision of where she sees the company going … and the artistry of the company is very strong.”
MCB’s leaders hope Scolamiero’s skills as a fundraiser and in creating community partnerships will bolster those areas in Miami. The 54-year old New Jersey native was executive director for 17 years at the Pennsylvania Ballet, where he led a successful $12 million effort to boost the company’s size, start an endowment, and fund new ballets; as well as an ongoing $25 million campaign to fund new headquarters for the Philadelphia-based troupe. Scolamiero, who is a trained clarinetist with a degree in music education, also oversaw a number of community outreach programs that included an after-school arts program for inner city middle school students. The 51-year old Pennsylvania company, whose budget rose from $6.5 million to its current $11.3 million under Scolamiero, is one of the oldest regional troupes in the United States, with 38 dancers and a repertoire that includes Balanchine, classic and contemporary ballets.
“He has taken a ballet company that is just a touch smaller than ours and done many of the things with it that we want to keep moving forward on, particularly community engagement,” said Susan Kronick, former vice-chairman of Macy’s, who became president of MCB’s board last spring. “His financial prowess has been demonstrated. He’s got great passion for this art form, he knows it and he gets it. He understands the job and his ability to take it to another level is exciting.”
An informal search committee of Kronick, vice-chair Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, Lopez and MCB advisor and board member Robert Gottlieb contacted Scolamiero last winter. Hagerty, who joined MCB in fall 2012, soon after Lopez started, was a successful fundraiser at Washington’s Kennedy Center, whose then-president, arts management guru Michael Kaiser, pointed him to Miami. However, Hagerty’s partner, a dancer, was unable to find work in South Florida, and that combined with other personal issues led to his departure.
“Michael comes to Miami City Ballet with a wealth of invaluable experience,” Lopez said. “His … exceptional track record at Pennsylvania Ballet will be an enormous asset to us.”
Scolamiero sees his role as working closely and supportively with the artistic director, as he did with Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser.
“Roy and I approached this as a true partnership,” he said. “For the organization to advance, our goals had to align. I had to find the resources to help him and the board implement the mission and the artistic director’s vision. That’s critical, because the community and the people who are contributing want to know the two are aligned and are working together. It doesn’t work any other way.”
According to a company spokesperson, Miami City Ballet’s current budget is $15.5 million, higher than at any time in its history. Attendance and ticket revenue increased by close to 20 percent in the 2013-2014 season, which ended in early April with performances of Don Quixote.
Next season will feature several new ballets, including a world premiere by rising choreographic star Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet; a production of Carmen by British choreographer Richard Alston; and the Twyla Tharp work Sweet Fields. The roster of dancers is slated to increase from the current 45 to 49 or 50.