Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 9:21 pm | Fair 56º


Santa Barbara Symphony Executive Director David Pratt to Leave Post for Australian Position

David Pratt Click to view larger
David Pratt (Santa Barbara Symphony photo)

David Pratt — who spearheaded a remarkable turnaround as executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, positioning the organization for a new era of fiscal well-being — has been appointed chief executive of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia. He will assume his new position in September 2016.

Named executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in December 2014, the native Australian began serving in his current role the following March.

Under his leadership, the organization overcame a significant budget shortfall and has posted impressive institutional gains. Annual giving and single-ticket sales are up 12 and 20 percent, respectively, and subscription sales are also on the rise.

“David’s organizational talent and energy have had a transformative influence on the Santa Barbara Symphony,” said Board President Arthur Swalley. “In his short time with us, he has refocused our efforts on key strategic metrics, including cost-effective marketing, development processes, financial controls and expanded education programming. We are grateful for the critical work he has accomplished. Our Symphony is now in excellent shape with great potential moving forward.” 

Prior to joining the Santa Barbara Symphony, Pratt was executive director of the Savannah Philharmonic in Georgia, where he oversaw substantial increases in attendance, donations and corporate support.

Over the course of his 20-year career he has also served as general manager of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Australia’s North East tropical region, commercial enterprises manager of the Sydney Symphony and general manager of the Melbourne Film Office, and he also has held several film industry management positions in Los Angeles.

From 1997-2004, Pratt was the film commissioner for AusFilm in Los Angeles, promoting Australia’s movie and television production sector in the United States.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra is Queensland’s largest performing arts company, presenting some 150 live performances and engaging with more than 1.6 million people annually. The organization has an annual budget of $18 million and boasts 88 full-time musicians.

“I leave the Symphony with great pride in what we, as an organization, have achieved in the short period I have been here,” said Pratt. “I will miss working with the incredible Nir Kabaretti and the talented pool of musicians that make up the Santa Barbara Symphony.”

The Santa Barbara Symphony will name an interim executive director in the coming weeks.

Tim Dougherty represents the Santa Barbara Symphony.

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