Douglas Schwalbe, 1927-2020

New York, NY, April 6, 2020 – Douglas Schwalbe, founder of the classical music management agency Schwalbe and Partners, died Friday, April 3 at the age of 92 after a short illness.

Douglas Schwalbe was born in New York in 1927. He went to PS6 and then to the Hotchkiss School. Immediately after, he enlisted in the Navy serving during the last year of World War II on a boat out of Norfolk, Virginia. He then went to Yale and Harvard Business School, and then into a career in advertising.

In 1966 the family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, so Schwalbe could take a job as managing director of the Loeb Drama Center. He initiated a series to bring performing artists from all over the world to perform at the Loeb. Artists he brought to the theater included Twyla Tharp, Lucinda Childs, Sir Michael Redgrave, and the Kodo troupe of drummers from Japan, to name just a few.

Additionally, together with Thomas Raymond and Stephen Greyser, he founded the Arts Administration Research Center in 1966. In 1970, they created the Harvard Summer School Institute in Arts Administration, the first of its kind, designed to give artists the business knowledge and skills they needed to lead arts organizations. They also together published a book called Cases in Arts Administration that was used in this and other courses around the world.

Schwalbe was sent by the State Department to Somalia in the 1970s to advise the government there on arts administration.

He then joined Montgomery Byers in the agency business, forming Byers Schwalbe in 1979. Initially he promoted artists in a dizzying array of disciplines, attracting big names in not just classical music but also dance, folk, cabaret, and novelty acts. Then came the challenge he was born to take on: bringing that quirky, almost sacrilegious “early music” movement into the mainstream of the North American classical music world.  He took the lead in introducing the preeminent international orchestras, conductors, and soloists of that nascent movement to a North American audience: The Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington’s Beethoven Experience, Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert, The Consort of Music, and many others – and in 1992 took over the company entirely and renamed it Schwalbe and Partners, Inc. For thirty more years he built a roster of world-renowned musicians, most of whom were associated with the early music world and many of whom became devoted friends, particularly soprano Emma Kirkby and conductor Nicholas McGegan. Doug retired from the company in 2014.

After retiring from the business, Schwalbe worked on several projects, including multi-year research into the repertoire of major city orchestras.

He is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

Doug Schwalbe’s family requests that gifts in Doug’s honor be directed to Early Music America.


For more information:
Carrie Sykes
President, Schwalbe and Partners, Inc.
[email protected]

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