Cincinnati Ballet names new CEO

The Cincinnati Ballet is turning to a familiar name to lead the company into a new era.

On Monday, the organization’s board of trustees appointed Deborah S. Brant as the new president and CEO. Brant assumed the role on an interim basis in January after Scott Altman stepped down to take a position with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Deborah S. Brant (Hiromi Platt Photography)

“I am humbled by the Board of Trustees’ support and honored to lead this incredible team of artists and professionals,” said Brant, who previously served as chair of The Cincinnati Ballet Foundation among other leadership roles with the organization.

“Cincinnati Ballet has been such a special part of my life for many years,” she added. “I am inspired by its long history of artistic excellence, and I am passionate about expanding access, building new audiences, and deepening connections in our community.”

A lifelong connection to ballet

Ballet has been an important part of Brant’s life since her childhood in Akron, Ohio. She started ballet lessons at age 9, beginning a life-long love of the art form. Her connection to ballet took on a more formal role shortly after arriving in Cincinnati in 1998.

Beyond her role with its foundation, Brant is a former chair of the Cincinnati Ballet board of trustees and led the capital campaign committee that secured funding to construct the 62,000 square-foot, $32 million Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance in Walnut Hills.

The Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
The Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance

“Soon after Debbie assumed her interim leadership role, it became clear she was the obvious choice to lead the Company long term,” said Board President Joel Stone

“Debbie has fostered a deep and meaningful relationship with Cincinnati Ballet and has been one of the organization’s biggest supporters,” he continued. “From her incredible efforts on the capital campaign to build Cincinnati Ballet’s spectacular new home to her years of service as a board member, Debbie’s experience, skills and energy make her the perfect fit to help propel the company to new heights.”

Supporting the arts from near and far

A graduate of Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Brant spent most of her professional in fundraising career, working in Washington, D.C. and New York City as grant writer

for The Kennedy Center – National Symphony Orchestra, as well as a fundraising consultant for New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Jacob’s Pillow, among others.

Brant continued her work as a fundraiser after moving to Cincinnati more than two decades ago. Over the years, she’s worked as a consultant for the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Prospect House and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She’s also been the boards of Mayerson JCC, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Most Valuable Kids of Cincinnati, Inc.

For her work, Brant has racked up a number of personal accolades, including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Women of the Year Award and Volunteer of the Year from the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. In 2021, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cincinnati Chapter named her its top volunteer.

Cincinnati Ballet


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