Hometown: New York, NY
Beatrice Jona Affron arrived at Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, in 1993 as our assistant conductor. She was later promoted to resident conductor, and, in 1997, became the company’s music director and conductor. Beatrice has conducted numerous ballets by George Balanchine in addition to other classics, including Giselle, The Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, and The Sleeping Beauty. In 2004, she led the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake.
A graduate of Yale University, Beatrice studied conducting privately with Robert Spano as well as with Pascal Verrot at the New England Conservatory, where she later served on the faculty. Beatrice has worked with Gunther Schuller, Jorge Mester, and David Effron and, in 1996, received the Conductors Guild Thelma A. Robinson Award. Her involvement in contemporary music has included conducting in the Music at the Anthology Series in New York City and leading the national tour of Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles in the fall of 1997.
In 2002, Beatrice received international attention while leading the world-premiere performances of Glass and Mary Zimmerman’s Galileo Galilei at Chicago’s Goodman Theater as well as on tour to London’s Barbican Theatre. Prior to this, she conducted the Boston Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre productions of Glass’ Akhnaten. In 2005, she made her debut with the Glimmerglass Opera conducting a new production (in French) of Donizetti’s Lucie de Lammermoor.
Beatrice’s other engagements include Dominick Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Fire with Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with Boston Lyric Opera, as well as Hansel and Gretel and The Tender Land at the New England Conservatory. She has conducted both dance and opera productions at the Boston Conservatory, as well as concerts with Boston’s Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and Boston Landmarks Orchestra. With Pennsylvania Ballet, Beatrice has toured to the Kennedy Center and the National Arts Center of Canada. She has appeared with Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Miami City Ballet.