Neale Perl to step down as WPAS head

Neale Perl, who has served for 10 years as president of the Washington Performing Arts Society, announced Wednesday that he would step down at the end of the 2012-13 season.

“I’m an ambitious person,” said Perl, 56. “I’ve done this for 10 years; that’s 600 performances. I just don’t see myself doing it for another 10 years.

“I had a vision for WPAS,” he added. “I did what I set out to do.”

WPAS is Washington’s leading presenter of classical music concerts; its seasons also include dance, world music and jazz. It has come to stand for a certain kind of blue-chip, traditional approach, offering a who’s who of classical music names — Yo-Yo Ma, Gustavo Dudamel, Evgeny Kissin — usually in beloved repertory standards.

Perl’s vision included expanding the organization’s education programs, starting the Capitol Arts Initiative and a series of tuition-free summer camps.

Perl does not have another position lined up, but he’s open to offers. “I have at least one more great job in me,” he says.

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.
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