Times Staff Writer

Wesley Brustad, executive director of the Spokane (Wash.) Symphony Orchestra and a former Guthrie Theatre administrator, has been appointed executive director of the Orange County Pacific Symphony Orchestra, officials of the Fullerton-based orchestra announced this week.

In a phone interview from Spokane, Brustad, 42, who will assume his new post Aug. 5, said, “I consider myself primarily a builder (of organizations). Orange County is known as an area that offers such exciting prospects for that kind of challenge.”

The Pacific Symphony’s top administrative post has been vacant since March, when Topper Smith resigned after 13 months to become orchestra manager of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, based in Pasadena. Pacific officials said the search for Smith’s replacement involved more than 20 prospects.

“His (Brustad’s) background is exceptionally strong and diverse. We are extremely happy with the choice and the part he will play in our expansion,” Michael Gilano, the Pacific Symphony’s board president, said Friday.


Prior to his Spokane post, Brustad was artistic and producing director of the Advent Theatre Foundation’s stage company in Nashville, Tenn. Previously he was managing director of the Tennessee Performing Arts Foundation, the organization that directed fund raising for the construction of a three-theater arts center in Nashville.

Brustad was also development and community planning administrator for the Guthrie Theatre Foundation, parent organization of the nationally known resident stage company in Minneapolis.

The Pacific Symphony has grown into an 85-member body that has offered 60 concerts a season since 1978 under the direction of Keith Clark, the orchestra’s founding music director-conductor. The operating budget for 1985-86 is expected to be more than $1 million. This summer, the orchestra will be moving to its new office, rehearsal and conservatory facilities in downtown Santa Ana. The building is being leased from the City of Santa Ana, which will be taking part in the Pacific’s educational programs.

The 80-member Spokane Symphony Orchestra has a $1.2-million operating budget and a 60-performance season, Brustad said. Brustad’s other former administrative posts included those with South Carolina Arts Foundation and Ohio Arts Council. Also a stage actor-director, Brustad is a graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Drama in Seattle.


Last week, the Pacific Symphony announced the naming of Edmundo Diaz del Campo, former assistant conductor of the Conservatory of Music Orchestra of Mexico City, to the newly created posts of assistant conductor and educational activities director. Another new post--marketing coordinator--is still to be filled.