New York City Ballet (NYCB) is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein.
Léon Barzin was the company’s first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company. City Ballet grew out of earlier troupes: the Producing Company of the School of American Ballet, 1934; the American Ballet, 1935, and Ballet Caravan, 1936, which merged into American Ballet Caravan, 1941; and directly from the Ballet Society, 1946.
In a 1946 letter, Kirstein stated, “The only justification I have is to enable Balanchine to do exactly what he wants to do in the way he wants to do it.” He served as the company’s General Director from 1946 to 1989, developing and sustaining it by his organizational and fundraising abilities.