Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) is pleased to announce that its $6 million Live Music Appeal, which was launched at the start of the organization’s 50th season in 2019, has been achieved. This momentous occasion, which was accomplished under the leadership of outgoing Executive Director Harris Ferris, ensures that the PBT Orchestra will provide live music at PBT performances for the next 50 years and beyond.
“When this important campaign appeal was announced in the fall of 2019 no one could have predicted that within 6 months the season would be closing due to COVID-19,” says Harris Ferris. “I am proud to announce that friends of PBT can rest assured that the current level of orchestral music will continue to be a part of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s annual season.”
“This transformational gift of 50 years’ live music both delivers on our mission of creating extraordinary ballet experiences and ensures organizational sustainability,” says PBT Board Chair Mary McKinney Flaherty. “This would not be possible without Harris’s vision; the financial support of our anonymous donor, leading foundations and numerous individuals; and, of course, the skill and artistry of all of our amazing PBT Orchestra musicians.”
Since 2010, a single individual, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has been instrumental in supporting two to three programs every season with the PBT Orchestra. In support of PBT’s Live Music Appeal, this same individual pledged a $3 million gift to double every donation made to live music since the appeal was launched in October 2019. “We are deeply grateful for the anonymous donor’s support, along with several leading foundations who contributed to this goal, including The Hillman Foundation, Hilda M. Willis Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation and so many other organizations and individuals,” Ferris says.
The announcement of this achievement was formally recognized at PBT’s launch party of Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 9. Open Air was hosted this year in a picturesque setting overlooking the beautiful Allegheny River in Sharpsburg, due to the generosity of and partnership with The Mosites Company, which owns the 52-acre property.
Both Open Air and the success of the PBT’s Live Music Appeal come at the end of Harris Ferris’ successful 15 year tenure as executive director of PBT, during which he fostered a harmonious relationship with the PBT Orchestra. The completion of the Live Music Appeal is a remarkable, crowning achievement in Ferris’ legacy at PBT.
“The musicians of the PBT Orchestra are deeply grateful to the donors and patrons of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for believing what we have always believed: great ballet deserves great live music. We look forward to being an integral part of PBT every season for many years to come,” says PBT Orchestra Oboist Cynthia Anderson.