Fred Bronstein, the highly successful chief executive of one of America’s major symphonies, an accomplished pianist and a dedicated music educator, has been appointed to lead the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the nation’s first music conservatory. Bronstein was president of the renowned St. Louis Symphony since 2008 and previously of the Dallas and Omaha symphonies.
Bronstein succeeds Jeffrey Sharkey, who announced in October of 2013 that he will return to the United Kingdom to become principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Bronstein’s title will be dean, a switch from the title of director held by Peabody leaders since before the institute became affiliated with Johns Hopkins nearly four decades ago. The change brings Peabody’s leadership structure into line with that of the university’s eight other academic divisions.
Bronstein, 57, is recognized in St. Louis for reversing multi-year downturns in symphony attendance, ticket revenue and philanthropic support. In collaboration with the symphony’s artistic leadership, he has introduced innovative concert programming, returned the orchestra to domestic and international touring after long absences, initiated new recording projects and launched live performances on public radio. He has led creation and early execution of a 10year strategic plan, sealed new collective bargaining agreements with musicians well before old contracts expired, managed expenses and restructured the symphony’s marketing, education and community outreach.
His stints as president of the Omaha Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and more recently in St. Louis, have all involved significant educational outreach. As a performer, he toured for eight years with Aequalis, a chamber group he co-founded with a focus on new American music, innovative programming and educational outreach. That experience also taught him the entrepreneurial skills young musicians today must develop, he said.
Bronstein graduated from Boston University in 1978 and earned a Master of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music in 1982. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1987.
About Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute
The Peabody Institute was founded by philanthropist George Peabody in 1857 – nearly 20 years before the Johns Hopkins University opened – and was America’s first academy of music. A part of Johns Hopkins since 1977, it is one of the anchors of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District and consists of a conservatory – preparing professional musicians – and the Peabody Preparatory, which provides non-credit music and dance instruction and pre-conservatory training for community members of all ages. The conservatory enrolls more than 600 students, roughly divided between undergraduates and graduate students, and offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees; certificates; and graduate performance diplomas. It prepares students not only in the entire range of classical instruments, but also in voice, opera, composition, conducting, music education, early music, jazz performance, computer music, music theory and musicology, and recording arts and sciences.