IN HONOR OF BYRON GUSTAFSON

11.30.10

Opus 3 Artists mourns the loss of our Managing Partner Emeritus, Byron Gustafson, a beloved friend and much-admired colleague whose grace and gentle spirit, kindness, wry humor and wisdom touched countless people both inside and outside the world of classical music.  His absence will create a void that cannot be filled.

Byron John Gustafson was born on July 29, 1954 in Brainerd, Minnesota.  He attended  North Park University in Chicago, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in piano performance in 1976.  His first job in the music industry was at the Auditorium Theatre Council, a non-profit arts presenting organization based in Chicago.  In 1978 he moved to New York and was hired by Lee Lamont at the artists management company ICM Artists, Ltd.  He quickly advanced and held a number of titles including Booking Representative, Manager, Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner.

In 1987 he became the first director of ICM Artists newly established touring division, a position he held for the next twenty-two years.  Under his direction, touring activities grew significantly to include some of the world’s foremost symphony orchestras including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the NHK Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as well as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; dance companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Moiseyev Dance Company and the Béjart Ballet; and vocal ensembles, among them the Vienna Boys Choir, the Chieftains, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and Chanticleer.  As a manager, he also guided the careers of such distinguished artists as Midori, James Galway, Wynton Marsalis, Yuri Bashmet and Jeremy Denk, among many others.

In 2006 he played a crucial role in organizing the buy-out of ICM Artists from its parent company International Creative Management, which then became Opus 3 Artists LLC.  He was Managing Partner of Opus 3 Artists and retired in November 2009 due to complications arising from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.  As Managing Partner Emeritus, he continued to serve as a consultant to Opus 3 Artists.  Byron Gustafson died on Monday, November 22, 2010 at his home in Manhattan.

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) honored Byron with its 2010 Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting.  In 2010 he also received the International Citation of Merit from the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), honoring his contributions to the field over the course of his 31-year career.  The Byron J. Gustafson Scholarship, an endowed music scholarship at the Juilliard School with preference for piano students, was established in early 2010.

Byron is survived by his partner of 26 years, Gustave Fleury, his brother Keith and his sister-in-law Florence and nephews Darrell, Trevor and Eric.

Contributions in Byron’s memory may be made to the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University and The Byron J. Gustafson Scholarship Fund  at the Juilliard School of Music.