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June 28, 2017

Lincoln Center Festival Director Nigel Redden to Step Down in September 2017

Lincoln Center Festival

Press Contact:
Mary Caraccioli, 212.875.5101
[email protected]

Lincoln Center Festival Director Nigel Redden to Step Down in September 2017

Redden Provided Artistic Leadership of the Critically Acclaimed Festival for Nearly Two Decades


New York, NY (June 28, 2017)—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 BalletNew 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), Mieczyslaw 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.


Theater highlights have included the Harold Pinter series (2001), in which Harold Pinter appeared as a performer and director as well as playwright; the DruidSynge (2006), during which all the plays of John Millington Synge were performed; numerous performances by Complicite; as well as productions directed by Yevgeny Arye (K’far, 1998; Adam Resurrected, 1998; The Slave, 2004; Shosha, 2004), Tamás Ascher (Ivanov, 2009; Uncle Vanya, 2012), Chen Shi-Zheng (The Orphan of Zhao, 2003; My Life as a Fairy Tale, 2005; Monkey: Journey to the West, 2013), Declan Donnellan (Ubu Roi, 2015), Lev Dodin (Brothers and Sisters, 2000; Life and Fate, 2009), Rezo Gabriadze (The Battle of Stalingrad, 2002 and 2010; The Doctor and the Patient, 2004; Ramona, 2015), Garry Hynes (The Silver Tassie, 2011; DruidMurphy, 2012; DruidShakespeare: The History Plays, 2015; DruidSynge, 2006), Krystian Lupa (Kalkwerk, 2009), Simon McBurney (The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, 1996; The Street of Crocodiles, 1998; The Elephant Vanishes, 2004; A Disappearing Number, 2010; Shun-kin, 2013), Amon Miyamoto (Pacific Overtures, 2002; The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, 2011), Peter Stein (The Demons, 2010), John Tiffany (Macbeth, 2012), Deborah Warner (The Angel Project, 2003), and Robert Wilson (The Days Before: Death, Destruction & Detroit III, 1999; I La Galigo, 2005; Les Fables de la Fontaine, 2007). Two visits by the Sydney Theatre Company featuring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh (Uncle Vanya, 2012, and The Maids, 2014) attracted record-breaking audiences.


The festival has also brought to New York the distinguished Kabuki company Heisei Nakamura-za (Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami (Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka, 2004); Renjishi, 2007; Hokaibo, 2007; and Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree, 2014), the Kanze Noh Theatre (Okina, Hagoromo; Sumida Gawa; Kyogen Busshi; Shakkyo; Aoi no Ue, 2016), Pansori productions from Korea (Heungboga, Sugungga, Simcheongga, Jeokbyeokga, and Chunhyangga, 2003), Ta'ziyeh from Iran (2002), as well as overviews of various kinds of music and dance from Mongolia, the Caribbean, and Africa.


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 16 series, festivals, and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center at the Movies, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating 41 years enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


Lincoln Center has become a leading force in using new media and technology to reach and inspire a wider and global audience. Reaching audiences where they are—physically and digitally—has become a cornerstone of making the performing arts more accessible to New Yorkers and beyond. The reimagination of David Geffen Hall will play an important part in these efforts. For more information, visit


Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, call the Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities at 212.875.5375.


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Nigel Redden
Caption: Nigel Redden
Photo Credit: Photo by Stephanie Berger
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