Paul Szilard (1912 – 2013) died peacefully at home on Friday, 26 July 2013, at the age of 100. He was born in Budapest, Hungary (August 24, 1912) and became a United States citizen in the 1950’s. A former leading dancer, Paul Szilard has performed throughout the world with such famous dancers as Nora Kaye, Colette Marchand, Sonia Arova and others.
As a world-renowned impresario, he has presented such prestigious dance companies as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (for whom he was the exclusive international representative for almost 40 years), New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, Dancers of Bali, Madrid’s Ballet Víctor Ullate, Universal Ballet and the American premiere engagement of the Bunraku Japanese Doll Theater.
The list of internationally-acclaimed artists presented by Paul Szilard is impressive, including such legendary stars as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Eric Bruhn, Patrick Dupond, Judith Jamison, John Taras, Violette Verdy, Donna Wood and many others.
Mr. Szilard produced the first Japanese tour of West Side Story with an American cast rehearsed by Jerome Robbins. It was the first English language Broadway show from New York to appear there. The entire company (cast and musicians) came from New York. In 2007 in Paris the Theatre du Chatelet and Michael Brenner for BB Promotion in collaboration with Paul Szilard Productions, Inc. presented a sold out 50th Anniversary Production of this classic musical, with an American cast that performed in English.
He was responsible for countless celebrated cultural events and galas throughout Asia, Australia and Europe as well as in the United States. He produced and presented the Bavarian National Ballet of the Munich State Opera at the New York State Theater. He presented American Ballet Theater at the Nouveau Festival International de Danse de Paris. He also presented Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the same festival in 2001.
His much-awaited autobiography, Under My Wings: My Life as an Impresario, was published in 2002.
In 2010, Mr. Szilard was presented with a special tribute by the New York City Ballet in honor of his work for the School of American Ballet, specifically for his philanthropic contributions to the School via his bookings of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Also in 2010, Szilard was honored by the mayor of Gyor, Hungary, for his lifelong contribution to the world of dance.
In 2012, in honor of his years of bringing great dance to France and for his outstanding and numerous contributions to French culture, Mr. Szilard was decorated by the French Ministry of Culture. He was presented with the decoration at a gala in his honor in Paris on June 25, on the occasion of the Opening Night of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s four-week season at the Theatre du Chatelet.
Last September there was a Celebration Party in honor of his 100th birthday with numerous luminaries from the dance world and friends and associates gathering to salute this unique man who did some much for the arts and for so many.Obituary courtesy of KPMAssociates