Beatrice Jona Affron has been the music director and conductor of the Pennsylvania Ballet since 1997. She has conducted many ballets by George Balanchine and other classics, such as Giselle, The Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, and Sleeping Beauty, among others. In 2004, she conducted the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake.
Ms. Affron is heard regularly in a large and varied repertoire that encompasses works from Mozart to Donizetti to Philip Glass. In 2002, she received international attention when she led the world premiere performances of Philip Glass and Mary Zimmerman’s Galileo Galilei at Chicago’s Goodman Theater and subsequently on a tour to London’s Barbican Theatre. Previously, she conducted the Boston Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre productions of Glass’ Akhnaten, an opera that she later repeated at the Boston Conservatory. In 2005, she made her debut with the Glimmerglass Opera conducting a new production in French of Donizetti’s Lucie de Lammermoor.
Some of Ms. Affron’s past engagements have included Dominick Argento’s opera, Miss Havisham’s Fire with Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with the Boston Lyric Opera, and Hansel and Gretel and The Tender Land at New England Conservatory.
A native of New York City and a graduate of Yale University, Ms. Affron studied conducting privately with Robert Spano and at New England Conservatory (where she later served on the faculty) with Pascal Verrot. Ms. Affron also has worked with Gunther Schuller, Jorge Mester, and David Effron. In 1996 she received the Conductors’ Guild Thelma A. Robinson Award. Her involvement in contemporary music has included conducting in the Music at the Anthology Series (NYC) and, in 1997, leading the national tour of Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles. From 2001-2004 Ms. Affron served as cover conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This past summer she stepped in to lead the Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell. She is thrilled to make her second appearance with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.