28 June 2017

Nigel Redden, Director of Lincoln Center Festival, to Step Down After Twenty-Year Tenure

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LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL director Nigel Redden will step down in September 2017 from his leadership role with the internationally-focused festival after a tenure of almost two decades, the arts organization announced today. 

Redden, who serves as general director of the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, is reportedly departing the New York festival in order to concentrate on the artistic expansion of the South Carolina festival, as well as to work on other global artistic projects. Lincoln Center has yet to announce plans for a successor.

“The Lincoln Center Festival provides a unique opportunity to complement the important work of the constituent companies with performances of classic traditions from around the world, as well as major new works that would not otherwise be seen in New York,” Redden said in a statement issued today by Lincoln Center. “The artistic scope has been very broad and the support provided by Lincoln Center’s leadership has been inspirational—whether it was to produce a 19-hour long Kunju opera, construct a replica of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s home theater here in New York, or mount an event that extended from Roosevelt Island to Times Square and back to the Chrysler Building.”

Redden’s involvement with the Lincoln Center Festival first began in 1994, when he was hired as a consultant in its creation; he subsequently became the Festival’s executive producer and, in 1998, he was hired to replace its founding director, John Rockwell, by then Lincoln Center chairman Beverly Sills and the arts complex’s then president Nathan Leventhal. Redden had previously served as the Spoleto Festival USA’s general manager from 1986 until 1991, when he became executive director of Santa Fe Opera; following that tenure, he rejoined the Spoleto Festival in 1995. 

Redden’s tenure with the Lincoln Center Festival has been notable for its audaciously global focus and broad artistic ambit. During his time as the festival’s director, Redden has organized 1,465 performances of opera, music, dance, theater and interdisciplinary works by artists drawn from more than fifty countries. Some of the Festival’s noteworthy operatic offerings have included the 1999 world premiere of the complete production of  Tang Xianzu's Ming Dynasty epic The Peony Pavilion, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng; the American premieres of George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill, Louis Andriessen’s Writing to Vermeer, Philip Glass’s White Raven and Sergei Prokofiev’s Semyon Kotko; the local premieres of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel and Mieczysłlaw Weinberg’s The Passenger; and performances of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s colossal Die Soldaten at the Park Avenue Armory.

This year’s Festival—the twenty second presented by Lincoln Center—will draw artists and performers from a dozen countries for forty-three performances over the span of three weeks. Featured theatrical performances include Improbable’s Opening Skinner’s Box and Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar’s While I Was Waiting; the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet will perform George Balanchine’s Jewels; and the Festival will present a series of performances and a documentary in tribute to the late saxophonist-composer Ornette Coleman. spacer 

More information can be found at Lincoln Center Festival

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