Nigel Redden to Step Down as Director of Lincoln Center Festival to Focus on Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston
After nearly 20 years leading the internationally focused Lincoln Center Festival, Director Nigel Redden announced today that the 2017 Festival will be his last. He will step down in September to concentrate on the artistic expansion of the annual Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, where he serves as general director, as well as other global artistic projects.
As Lincoln Center Festival's director since 1998, Redden has overseen its 1,465 performances of opera, music, dance, theater, and interdisciplinary engagements by internationally acclaimed artists from more than 50 countries. To date, the festival has commissioned more than 44 new works and offered some 145 world, U.S., and New York premieres.
Redden said, "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. 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."
The New York Drama Critics' Circle recognized Lincoln Center Festival programming with a special citation for "visionary international programming" in 2010. Redden was named a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2001, honoring his work with French companies.
Redden, hired by Lincoln Center Chairman Beverly Sills and President Nathan Leventhal, quickly defined his tenure with compelling global performances like the 1999 world premiere of the complete production of The Peony Pavilion, a 19-hour production directed by Chen Shi-Zheng with music by Tang Xianzu. Redden's farewell season will include the highly anticipated 50th anniversary presentation of George Balanchine's 1967 masterpiece Jewels, featuring the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet on a single stage.
Now in its 22nd season, Lincoln Center Festival runs from July 10 to 30 and continues its mission of globalism by inviting to Lincoln Center artists and companies from many parts of the world who are creating audacious, original, and relevant work. Musicians, actors, writers, directors, filmmakers, and dancers from a dozen countries and five continents will animate Lincoln Center's campus and beyond this summer with bold creations-43 performances packed into a span of three weeks.
Lincoln Center President Debora L. Spar called Redden an advocate for greater global awareness through art, saying, "Over the last two decades Nigel has brought the world to New Yorkers by way of the Lincoln Center Festival. We are grateful for his commitment to showcasing diverse artistic viewpoints, which inform, inspire, and connect us to the wider world."
Redden's involvement with the festival began in 1994, when he served as a consultant in its creation and subsequently as its executive producer. Leaving to head Spoleto Festival USA in 1995, he returned two years later as a consultant and was named director in 1998, replacing John Rockwell. That appointment positioned Redden at the helm of two of the nation's leading arts festivals. He was Spoleto's general manager from 1986 to1991 and rejoined as general director in 1995, a post he continues to hold today. Between 1991 and 1995, Redden served as executive director of the Santa Fe Opera. He has recently served as a Tony nominator and as a consultant to a number of foundations.
Redden's tenure at Lincoln Center Festival has featured some of the most dynamic and thought-provoking works from around the globe. Highlights include presenting the first operas in New York and/or the United States by Louis Andriessen (Writing to Vermeer, 2000), Lera Auerbach (The Blind, 2013), George Benjamin (Into the Little Hill, 2007), Toshio Hosokawa (Matsukaze, 2013), Brian Ferneyhough (Shadowtime, 2005), Elliot Goldenthal (Grendel, 2006), Guo Wenjing (Night Banquet, 2002), Salvatore Sciarrino (Luci mie Traditrici, 2001), Poul Ruders (Selma Jezková, 2011), Mieczys?law Weinberg (The Passenger, 2013), as well as American premieres of operas by Philip Glass (White Raven , 2001), Sergei Prokofiev (Semyon Kotko, 2003), and Karlheinz Stockhausen (Michaels Reise um die Erde, 2013), and a notable production of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Die Soldaten, a first at Park Avenue Armory.
Dance highlights include this year's performances of Jewels with the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet; the Ashton Celebration (2004), which included the Royal Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and K-Ballet; and the New York premieres of many works by Shen Wei.