Michael Pastreich, president and CEO of The Florida Orchestra (TFO), has overseen more than a decade of explosive growth for TFO. Under his direction, TFO's unparalleled level of artistic excellence has won it collaborations with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Music Institute of Havana, and a recording with Naxos, the premier classical music distributor. Pastreich has brought a variety of life experiences to his roles, having put out fires as a firefighter, crafted objects as a silversmith and earned a Fulbright Scholarship. Pastreich's pleasant demeanor and candid nature have meshed well with the sounds of the philharmonic pleasures he has provided for years to the Tampa Bay region.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
President and CEO of the Florida Orchestra. I'm almost exclusively involved with the Florida Orchestra. I'm involved with Congregation Beth-El as well. And then raising three teenagers.
What gets you out of bed every day?
This is such an incredible city. The energy in this community is extraordinary. I arrived here October 2, 2007, and I watched the city through the Recession, expand the Fine Arts museum, build the Morean, build American Stage, bring the Chihuly exhibit, and just grow and thrive through the worst of times, and then come out of the recession just an intellectual powerhouse, a cultural powerhouse. And I think seeing how the orchestra can play a role in that is the most exciting part of living in this area.
Why St. Pete?
Eleven years in, I still feel like a tourist. I love going to the beach, I love the restaurants. My family and I love going for walks on Weedon Island. Just such a wide variety of activities. When we have conductors in town, I can really get to know what their personality is, and find something to do with them on a Saturday afternoon that perfectly fits.
What is one habit that you keep?
I make sure that I cook my kids a home-prepared meal every night.
who are some people that influence you?
Historically, maybe Malcolm X and Gandhi. Conceptually, Dumbledore, and now, I think both my parents.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I think the book "Good to Great" is a book that I try to bring into running the orchestra the most often. I try to read that entire set of books every summer to re-ground myself.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
How amazing Michael Francis is. I think we knew that he was going to be amazing when he joined us three years ago, but we didn't have a clue of what extraordinary could be.
I leave on a three-month sabbatical on Monday. I'm going to have a little bit of downtime during it. My family and I are going to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef. We all just got scuba-certified. I'm going to bring our children camping for a week. I'm going to spend two weeks with my mother seeing old world Luxembourg, and having her walk around the family farm and so on. I'm going to do some work with other orchestras so that I can see how they do things differently. And I might do a little work for my wife as well, for her company. Try to get my head out of the game and into new worlds. I arrived here just as our 40th anniversary started. Our 50th anniversary has wrapped up. It's been an incredible era.