Since joining La Jolla Music Society as its President & Artistic Director in December of 2005, Christopher Beach has invigorated its programming, initiated a long-range plan to expand its artistic offerings, and laid the foundation for an overhaul of its administration.
A native of Pittsburgh, Mr. Beach is an internationally-respected arts manager, whose 16-year tenure as director of The Performing Arts Center at New York’s Purchase College was highlighted by a seven fold expansion in programs, a major renovation of the five theatre complex, and a dramatic increase in ticket revenues and fundraising support that made The Performing Arts Center one of the major arts centers in America.
Working in the professional theatre has been a part of Mr. Beach’s life since his early teens when he began as an apprentice with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at America’s oldest “summer stock” theatre, the Dennis Playhouse, on Cape Cod.
After graduating from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, he began his undergraduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University. A chance encounter with the legendary chair of the art history department, Dr. Phoebe Stanton, turned his enthusiasms toward art history, in which he took his Bachelor of Arts degree.
During his time at the University, he soon found part time work on both sides of the proscenium, as a house manager for Baltimore’s Center Stage, and later as a stage manager for the Baltimore Opera, then still directed by the great Rosa Ponselle. As often happens with people who take what they think is a temporary “detour” into a discipline other than the one in which they were trained, he found himself moving back and forth across the footlights and between opera and theatre. Stage management work at the Santa Fe Opera soon led to work as the Administrative Assistant to John Dexter, Director of Production at the Metropolitan Opera. Five years later Beach left the Met to return to Santa Fe to start The Santa Fe Festival Theatre in 1980, as New Mexico’s first LORT theatre company. Featured in Time Magazine, the theatre presented Michael York, Amy Irving, Kelsey Grammer, Madeleine Kahn and John Randolph among others.
Mr. Beach has never done the same job twice. His next career move took him back to the Metropolitan Opera, this time as Operations Director and with responsibilities that ranged from overseeing the ballet and chorus to managing all of its house management operations. That experience then led to the position of Managing Director of Pepsico SUMMERFARE, an international summer festival presenting contemporary and cutting-edge performances of international opera, theatre and music, including productions of the three great Mozart/Da Ponte operas, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, all directed by Peter Sellars.
In 1989 he was recruited to take over The Performing Arts Center in Purchase. His work at Purchase offered an opportunity to curate a season as a multi-disciplinary presenter where he could explore the impact and the amplification that one art form can have on another and create the connections that give a single performance resonance with other events. A skilled businessman as well as artistic director committed to productive teamwork, Christopher’s expertise was not only in demand in artistic matters, but also as a key member of the college community, for which he discharged many important assignments throughout his career.
Already a familiar – and energetic – participant on the arts scene in San Diego, Christopher and his partner of 30 years, Wesley Fata, live in La Jolla.