Composer Mischa Santora will be the Boston Ballet's new music director, the company announced Tuesday. He is coming to Boston from Minnesota, where he served as the artistic director of the Minneapolis Music Company and the Spotlight Series at the MacPhail Center for Music.
The last person to hold this role was Jonathan McPhee, who served as the ballet's music director from 1988 until 2016 and now serves as the music director emeritus.
“Mischa Santora is gifted artistically and administratively, and I am thrilled he is joining our dance community," Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet's artistic director, said in a statement. "With his impressive symphonic background, I look forward to seeing how he takes the music and the orchestra to new heights in this and future seasons.”
Santora may be a familiar face to Boston audiences as he guest conducted seven Boston Ballet performances of John Cranko's "Romeo & Juliet" last season.
“Boston is fortunate to have a world-renowned ballet company that honors its rich heritage and pushes the boundaries of dance into the future,” Santora said in a statement. “I received such a warm welcome when I conducted Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet last season as their guest. I am excited to be welcomed back in my new role at this beloved arts organization.”
Boston Ballet's announcement hailed Santora as a "champion of new music" who has recently premiered works by contemporary composers Sally Beamish, Timo Andres and Steve Heitzeg.
Santora was born to Hungarian parents in the Netherlands before moving to Switzerland at the age of 3. There he studied violin with his father, a former member of the Lucerne Symphony. Santora holds a diploma in violin and teaching from the Academy for School and Church Music in Lucerne and has appeared with many of the large orchestras in the United States, including Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia, Minnesota and Louisville Orchestras.
He'll conduct for the first time in his new role for Mikko Nissinen's "The Nutcracker," which opens on Nov. 29.