Today, Stewart Kershaw, music director and conductor of Pacific Northwest Ballet announced his departure from the organization, effective immediately.
Kershaw, 68, has been PNB’s conductor for 25 years and it’s now 20 years since the orchestra began its own orchestra, last summer described in The New York Times as perhaps the best ballet orchestra in the country.
Kershaw emphasizes that he is leaving now, not because of any disagreements with PNB but the opposite. He wants to retire on a high note, and he considers the production of “Romeo et Juliette” just past was a highlight for the company and the PNB orchestra. He has just chosen a new concertmaster for the orchestra, Michael Lim, and feels he leaves the group in very good hands with Lim and, until a new music director is found, assistant conductor Allan Dameron.
Kershaw has been a ballet conductor for 43 years, directing the music for such luminaries as Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev among many others. He remains in town and will continue to conduct the Auburn Symphony, where many of the PNB orchestra also play.
PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal accepted Kershaw’s resignation with sadness, commenting that he had contributed tremendously to the company over the past quarter century. The company will begin to look for a successor immediately.