The Pennsylvania Ballet has selected Elizabeth Warshawer, a highly regarded arts veteran, to serve as interim executive director as it searches for a long-term administrative head.
“She’s got the talent, and she knows Philadelphia,” said ballet board chair David Hoffman. “She is very smart, and we’re hoping she can figure out some things and give some guidance to the person we get in place.”
David Gray, the current executive director, leaves at the end of June, and Warshawer starts the first week in July.
Warshawer’s most recent high-profile role was as executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer of the Curtis Institute of Music. She held the post until 2015, overseeing such major initiatives as the development of strategic plans, the launch of major online initiatives, and construction of a new building with dorms and rehearsal spaces.
She is currently interim executive director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, which just named a permanent executive director. She will continue to consult in that capacity for about a month or two, she said.
At the ballet, she will report to the board. As to whether her role will be to just keep operations going or to take a deeper look into questions like how the ballet company can complete a partially built studio facility on North Broad Street, Warshawer said: “I think I’m going to have to get here and figure that out.”
On those bigger questions, she said, she might offer a “fresh set of eyes,” with the intention of making “recommendations and observations, but not to be prescriptive.”
Hoffman said the ballet expects to interview candidates for the permanent position in September and to make an offer by Oct. 1, “and the question is, what are their other obligations? We hope to have someone by the end of the year working full-time.”
In addition to her consulting work, Warshawer is founder and trustee of ArtistYear, a national organization that places musicians and other artists in residencies in schools with a high percentage of children from low-income families.