Press Releases

July 28, 2014

San Francisco Ballet Announces Appointment of Christopher Stowell to the Position of Ballet Master & Assistant to the Artistic Director

SAN FRANCISCO, CA Monday, July 28, 2014—San Francisco Ballet has announced the appointment of Christopher Stowell to the title of ballet master and assistant to the artistic director, effective August 25, 2014. Stowell will oversee a number of artistic duties in addition to those held by former Ballet Master and Assistant to the Artistic Director Bruce Sansom. Prior to the appointment, Stowell served as Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Stowell will report to SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. In this position, he will serve as Tomasson’s designate and liaison to Executive Director Glenn McCoy and SF Ballet’s administrative team on matters of planning, budgeting, and program expense management. He will also assist with scheduling, and artist and season management. As Ballet Master, Stowell will teach Company class and rehearse ballets for the repertory season.

“Many may remember Christopher from his long and successful career in the Company,” said Tomasson. “Christopher joined San Francisco Ballet in 1985 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1990. I look forward to working closely with both him and our current Ballet Master and Assistant to the Artistic Director, Ricardo Bustamante, in these complementary roles,” added Tomasson.

Christopher Stowell was born in New York City and received his training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In 1985 he joined SF Ballet where he danced for sixteen years, appearing in theaters throughout the world including the Paris Opera House, New York’s Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. As a principal dancer, Stowell performed leading roles in the full-length classics Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Othello, and had roles created for him by Tomasson, Mark Morris, William Forsythe, and James Kudelka. An established interpreter of the George Balanchine repertoire, Stowell appeared in almost every Balanchine ballet performed by SF Ballet. Upon his retirement in 2001, he was accorded a gala farewell at the War Memorial Opera House.

Stowell has taught and coached in San Francisco, New York, Japan, China, and Europe. He has created new works for SF Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Diablo Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute. He has also staged the works of George Balanchine and Mark Morris.

In 2003, Christopher Stowell became Oregon Ballet Theatre’s second artistic director. He made significant additions to the OBT repertoire, bringing to Portland works from some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers, including Ashton, Balanchine, Robbins, Taylor, Tomasson, Wheeldon, and Lubovitch.  During Stowell’s tenure with OBT, the company performed in Korea and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C—as well as venues in New York, Chicago, Colorado, Washington, and Wyoming. In addition to creating eight world premieres for OBT, including Swan Lake (2006), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2007), The Rite of Spring (2009), Carmen (2011), and Ekho (2012), Stowell also commissioned works by internationally prominent artists James Kudelka, Kent Stowell, Trey McIntyre, Yuri Possokhov, Julia Adam, and Nicolo Fonte. Stowell served as OBT’s artistic director from 2003-12.

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included London and Washington, D.C., plus first-time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. In October 2013, the Company performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where The New York Times declared SF Ballet “a national treasure.” 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Helgi Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet.


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