Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebrity Series of Boston Announces New Executive Director

For Immediate Release

Jack Wright, (617) 598-3212,
Stephanie Janes, (617) 598-3240,



(Boston)  Celebrity Series of Boston, New England’s leading performing arts presenter, is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Dunning as President and Executive Director. Mr. Dunning has been a senior executive in the performing arts for over 30 years, having served as executive director of the Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and most recently the Big Apple Circus, Ltd. in New York City. Mr. Dunning’s appointment is effective July 1, 2011.

Joshua Boger, Chair of the search committee and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Celebrity Series, expressed his enthusiasm for Mr. Dunning’s selection, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, the search committee and staff I am delighted to welcome Gary as the next President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series of Boston. He brings a truly impressive experience to the position, having successfully led several nationally prominent arts institutions over his career. He will be a stellar addition to a tradition of great Celebrity Series leadership and is an outstanding choice to lead the Series into its next era.”

“Gary will become only the fourth leader of the Celebrity Series over its 72-year history and the first appointed from outside the organization,” said retiring Series President, Martha H. Jones. “He is an excellent choice and his background in management, marketing, fundraising and education will serve him well as he takes the Celebrity Series to new heights. I was involved in the search process and am quite pleased to endorse Gary’s appointment.”

“It is an honor and privilege to join Celebrity Series and follow in the footsteps of Marty Jones,” said Dunning. “The organization has stood for excellence and diversity in celebrating the best in the performing arts. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Celebrity Series and throughout the Boston arts community to build a stronger organization and vibrant arts scene.”

Gary Dunning began his career as Assistant Company Manager at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in 1978. He rose to Company Manager and General Manager at ABT before departing in 1986 to become Executive Director of the Houston Ballet. Dunning remained with the Houston Ballet until 1992, when he was recruited to return to ABT as Executive Director, where he launched that organization’s remarkable turnaround. In 1996, Dunning left ABT to assume the Executive Director position at Big Apple Circus, Ltd., a position he has held until this appointment. Mr. Dunning is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics.

During his 14-year tenure at Big Apple Circus, Mr. Dunning doubled the non-profit arts institution’s annual fund drive in the first four years and increased earned revenues by 18% per year for the first five years. He also completed a $6 million capital plan for a new rehearsal and production facility and developed and successfully executed a transition plan from the founding artistic director to new artistic leadership. The Big Apple Circus’ community outreach and education programs, which serve children and families across the nation in pediatric and nursing care facilities, community centers, schools and at Big Apple Circus performances, have undergone a significant expansion under Mr. Dunning’s leadership.

Celebrity Series of Boston will announce its 2011-2012 season, the first under the leadership of Mr. Dunning, in early April.

The Celebrity Series of Boston is New England’s leading presenter of music, dance and the performing arts from around the world. Now in its 72nd season, the Celebrity Series brings performances by instrumental and vocal soloists, orchestras and chamber ensembles, dance companies, jazz, folk and ethnic artists and ensembles to Boston’s major concert halls, reaching an audience of some 100,000 each year. Through the Arts, Education and Community Program, the Celebrity Series reaches thousands of youngsters annually with opportunities to experience and participate in the performing arts through concerts, workshops, and the award-winning AileyCamp Boston, an intensive six-week summer dance program for Boston middle school students. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at

The Celebrity Series receives generous support from The Little Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, Foley & Lardner LLP, Charlesbank Capital Partners, Comcast, Parametric Technology Corporation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, and D.L. Saunders Companies and The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, LLC.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

George Shearing (1919-2011)

George Shearing

The world has lost pianist George Shearing at the age of 91. Jack Kerouac's "Old God Shearing" played the Celebrity Series of Boston only once, a Symphony Hall date in 1995 with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. The performance included Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You, Stars in My Eyes, If Ever I Should Lose You and the slightly unexpected choice of Eddie Harris' Freedom Jazz Dance.

The Telegraph (UK)

The Washington Post

The New York Times

Jazz Times

A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz (NPR's Morning Edition interview from 1995)

George Shearing Quintet, Conception (video)

George Shearing Quintet, Swedish Pastry (video)

Audio link and transcript of Shearing interviewed by singer Joe Williams

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Evgeny Kissin, masterful pianist, child composer ...

Who knew pianist Evgeny Kissin was a child composer? Watching this video all I could do was think back on my (apparently) misspent youth as Evgeny tosses off ditties he wrote before the age of ten...

This prodigy turned merely incredible, outstanding adult performer will play an all-Liszt program in his Celebrity Series recital at Symphony Hall on March 2.

Tierney Sutton sings Irving Berlin (video)

Tierney Sutton will give a masterclass at Harvard tomorrow evening and will sing at Sanders Theatre on Friday night, so you have not missed your opportunity ...

In this video, Tierney Sutton and her band perform Let's Face the Music and Dance.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Boston Globe review of violinist Bell

Matthew Guerrieri reviewed Friday evening's Celebrity Series concert by Joshua Bell at Symphony Hall. Here's a snippet:

"Bell has always exemplified old-school Romantic virtues, technically accomplished and emotionally flamboyant. If anything, his technique has only gotten better; his bowing, in particular, was a paragon, exceptionally controlled across a range of styles."

Read all of With violinist Bell's aplomb, the bolder the music the better.