DAYTON, OH (May 10, 2022) – The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) announces that Dayton Philharmonic Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman has outlined a five-year course ahead for his retirement from the podium of the Dayton Philharmonic in 2027.
“Although I am not quite ready to hang up my baton, I understand how critical it is to have succession planning in place within our performing arts organization,” said Neal Gittleman. “I love my job, I love the amazing artists with whom I have the privilege to work, and I love the dedicated team of staff, supporters, and audience members who make it possible for me to do this work that I love every day. I’d prefer to retire from conducting the orchestra a little too soon than one second too late. I’ve always tried to do this job at 100% commitment, and I don’t ever want to be in a position—physically or emotionally—where I feel that can’t do that.”
Neal continued, “I have recently settled on the idea of a five-year window to create a smooth and orderly transition while at the same time continuing to work at 100% to rebuild our performance offerings to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. So that’s where we are now…at the beginning of that five-year window. And there is much to accomplish between now and then, so I’m excited for everything that we’ll achieve together during that time.”
Over the next five years, Neal will continue to lead the DPO in programming and performances, as he has for nearly the last three decades in Dayton. At the conclusion of this 2021–2022 season, Neal Gittleman will celebrate his 27th season at the helm of the Dayton Philharmonic. Further, with the historic merger of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic into the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance in July 2012, Neal’s conducting duties over the last ten years have also included frequent performances with the Ballet and Opera.
Neal will continue to inspire each listener’s imagination over the next five years with his unique programming, in-depth comments, easygoing style and infectious enthusiasm for music. His focus will continue to be making symphonic music readily available, as well as appreciated, by all musical tastes, until he retires from his position in 2027.
“Neal has been a pillar and an anchor in the Dayton arts community for a quarter century,” said Patrick J. Nugent, President and CEO of Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. “He has brought the Dayton Philharmonic to an enviable level of professional and musical excellence, and he has been a major force in bringing the Alliance together and shaping it into a single, integrated organization working together toward the shared purpose of inspiring as many people as possible to fall in love with the live performing arts.” Patrick added, “Countless concert-goers whom I have met since my arrival in Dayton have told me over and over what a deeply inspiring cultural leader Neal has been for them and for our entire Dayton community.”
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Neal Gittleman graduated from Yale University in 1975. He continued his musical studies with the eminent teachers Nadia Boulanger and Annette Dieudonné in Paris, Hugh Ross at the Manhattan School of Music and Charles Bruck at both the Pierre Monteux Domaine School and the Hartt School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Karl Böhm Fellowship. In 1984, he was the Second Prize Winner of Geneva’s Ernest Ansermet International Conducting Competition, and, two years later, he was awarded Third Prize at the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in New York City. In 1989, he was selected for the American Conductors Program at the American Symphony Orchestra League’s annual conference in San Francisco. In May 2014, he was awarded a 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio for Community Development and Participation. Under his direction, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra has received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music nine times.
The DPAA Board will begin a national search to identify Neal’s successor. The DPAA’s unique structure and opportunities will attract many highly qualified individuals, and the DPAA Board looks forward to finding the right individual to work with the current artistic directors of Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet and the staff to take the DPAA to an even greater level of success and accomplishment.
About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the greater Dayton community, with a mission to be the community’s indispensable source for traditional, diverse and innovative experiences in ballet, opera, and orchestral music. The vision of the DPAA is to transform lives through the power of music and dance. The DPAA offers a wide variety of performance and education programs, setting a new standard for artistic excellence. DPAA performances reach an audience of more than 90,000 people annually, and their rich arts education programming serves over 60,000 schoolchildren in 150 schools in the Miami Valley. These performances and education initiatives are made possible in part through major support provided by the Ohio Arts Council, Culture Works, the City of Dayton, Montgomery County and the National Endowment for the Arts.