Madison Ballet: Announces New CEO Jonathan Solari
The Madison Ballet continues its growth plans with the announcement of a key leadership appointment of Jonathan Solari as CEO. During the last six months, Madison Ballet has embarked on a one million dollar capital campaign, moved to new studios and offices on Odana Road, and now announces the addition of Jonathan Solari as CEO. Solari’s appointment as CEO of Madison Ballet combines a long career in the arts with a love for continuously strengthening his adopted home of Madison.
At age 27, Jonathan founded New Brooklyn Theatre to restore a historic theatre in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of New York City. Under his leadership, the company was heralded as the “flash point for the fusion of theatre and politics” by The New York Times. It partnered with Harvard University to perform Chekhov in Turkish farmlands and presented Ibsen on a stage floating outside of the state capital in West Virginia. His production of Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smithis credited with saving Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center from closure in what The Wall Street Journal called the “most dramatic blend of theater and health policy in nearly 30 years.”
As a theatre and opera director, Jonathan has worked with some of the greatest artists of his time. He has staged works for Lincoln Center, Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castelton Festival, and Belarus Free Theatre, among many others.
Since moving to Madison with his wife, Courtney Nelson, he has worked to build a culture of philanthropy with organizations including Community Shares of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, Working Capital for Community Needs, and United Way of Dane County. He loves to exchange ideas through travel and currently serves as the at-large member of the City of Madison’s Sister City Collaboration Committee.
“The Madison Ballet Board and I are thrilled to have Jonathan lead us into the next generation of the Madison Ballet,” noted Bob Cottingham, Board President. “Jonathan brings together the perfect combination of arts vision, partnership, collaboration, and donor development. Madison Ballet has been around for nearly four decades, and we are excited to support the strategy Jonathan wants to deliver–what he calls ‘radical access’ to students and performances. During the interview process, Jonathan spoke of eliminating the curtain
instead of raising it in terms of providing access to the Ballet,” added Cottingham. “We know the Madison Ballet will continue to be a vibrant arts organization under his leadership.”
Madison Ballet has long been a pillar of the Dane County creative community. It is the only professional ballet company among Overture Center’s ten resident organizations, and the company’s production of The Nutcrackeris attended by nearly 13,000 people each season. Madison Ballet gives back to the community, participating in local arts events as well as providing close to 10% of its Nutcrackertickets free of charge to area nonprofits.
In addition to fostering a strong, connected community, the company generates a positive economic impact. For nearly half of those who attend Nutcrackereach year, it is also their first visit to the Overture Center, demonstrating that Madison Ballet’s performances are a gateway to the arts community, building a strong bridge to Madison’s future as a regional arts destination.
Since the School of Madison Ballet opened its doors in 2005, Madison Ballet’s Scholarship Fund has allowed approximately 3,000 children to attend the School for free, with this number intended to increase by 15% by 2020.
More information can be found on the Madison Ballet website madisonballet.org.
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