Ramona Pansegrau, Kansas City Ballet’s music director, leads a busy life over the summer! Guest conducting and playing the piano for various events and competitions around the nation are just a few of the things that occupy her summer months. Currently, Ms. Pansegrau is in Jackson, Miss., for the International Ballet Competition — the Olympics of ballet — as a guest conductor and music director. To give us some insight into this elite competition, she will be providing a few blog posts during her stay in Jackson.
Hello from Jackson, Miss. — my first stop on a 3-week whirlwind of conducting and performing. I arrived today in Jackson for the USA International Ballet Competition. I’m guest conductor and music director for the competition and will conduct the opening ceremonies on Saturday night. On Sunday, I fly to Jacob’s Pillow in Beckett, Mass., where I’ve been music director for the ballet program for 12 years, and will help prepare the final performance on Saturday, June 21. Then on June 22, I fly back to Jackson for the final week of the competition and will conduct the Awards Gala on Saturday June 28, and the Encore Gala on Sunday the 29th.
Whew! I thought it might be interesting to give a little flavor of what it’s like to be involved with these events, so I’ll be posting a bit each day, or as time allows. First of all, the IBC is the Olympics of ballet. It occurs every 4 years in Jackson — by decree of Congress. I’ve been involved for a few decades as competition pianist at the beginning, then music director, and now conductor. Competitors come from all over the world and are judged by a panel of renowned international judges. Most of the competitors are already here, rehearsing with their coaches in various venues all over the city. Saturday night is official opening with the parade of nations, official torch lighting, followed by a grand southern party. Tomorrow is my first orchestra rehearsal with the Mississippi symphony — so more tomorrow!