Apart from Lincoln Center, how did you enjoy the show?

Apart from Lincoln Center, how did you enjoy the show?


norman lebrecht

April 07, 2018

Something’s gone awry at the head of New York’s premier arts centre.

The last president resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct.

His successor, Debora L. Spar, appeared to be a brilliant choice. She has just resigned – a year into the job – saying she’d rather be back in academia, which is another way of saying she can’t take the heat in midtown Manhattan.

Here’s her statement yesterday:

‘Earlier this morning, I formally resigned my position as President and CEO of Lincoln Center. The advancement of the arts is a cause very close to my heart, both on a personal and professional level, but I feel compelled at this moment to refocus on other interests.’

And that’s it. Not another word.

Ms Spar used to work at Goldman Sachs. She is no pushover.

Does anyone know what really went down?



  • Sharon says:

    Maybe she was unaware of the financial problems that the Center is facing or was unaware of how difficult it would be to raise the amount of money that she was expected to raise? Just a guess

    Another issue is that the Met is the flagship or anchor institution of the complex. The lowered attendance and drop off of contributions at the Met due to the Levine scandal, not to mention Levine’s lawsuit, is a huge headache. People will not contribute to either the Met or Lincoln Center itself if they believe, rightly or wrongly, that their money will be used to pay off lawsuits or used for huge liability insurance premiums.

    A third issue is that there is a lot more competition for live entertainment than there was in the past. The off-off Broadway scene, most of it very well acted, with its on line complimentary ticket sites (at least 5), is just exploding. One can choose from about ninety live performances including both music and theater, any night of the week. Videos of all well known performance pieces are available for free or inexpensive downloads.

    It’s a thankless job.

    • Roger says:

      Maybe you should have read the post. She was the president of a college and raised a great deal of money.

      The downward spiral of the Met is not the issue here. Plenty of other music – as well as theater and ballet – go on at Lincoln Center.

      Broadway has been a lure for decades. The Met seems to be competing with them with repeated cheap ticket offers on theater websites. Otherwise Broadway is not the issue.

      • Sharon says:

        But the Met is the big draw. Tourists come to the Met and stay for other things. With regard to cheap tickets I was referring to the exploding OFF-OFF Broadway scene. The large numbers of these theaters (in the past there were just a couple) is fairly new

  • Sharon says:

    Also, Barnard College has a base of loyal wealthy alumnae and parents of Muslim students who have a very strong interest in maintaining the only women’s college, apart from the Orthodox Jewish colleges, left in New York City.

    Lincoln Center cannot command that type of donor loyalty, its donor base is getting older and in general the arts are seen as more superfluous than college education for women

  • collin says:

    “Ms Spar used to work at Goldman Sachs. She is no pushover”

    Yeah, right, Donald Trump’s cabinet and the White House are populated by Goldman Sachs alum from the highest level who disagree with Trump but were pushed over (pun intended) by Trump like so many spineless rag dolls.

    As for Ms Spar, I never understood, when her appointment was first announced, why an academic, even a college president, would be prepared for the rough and tumble of the cut throat world of New York arts.

    Hello! colleges have a captured audience willing and able to pay $50,000 a year just in tuition. That’s a guaranteed revenue base that rises every year above inflation.

    You couldn’t capture a NY audience unless you gave them free tickets to Carmen, and even then, they walk out.

  • John Porter says:

    Barnard is a cakewalk compared to Lincoln Center. Most of the LC constituents are bigger and wealthier than LC and the presidents of the constituents have their own boards (they are all free-standing non profits) and don’t really have to listen too much to the president of LC. it’s been a miserable job since William Schuman and believe me, raising money for Barnard is a lot easier than for LC.

    At Barnard, she answered to her board. At LC, she have seven or so presidents/executive directors who could care less what she had to say and a board on top of it. Why she ever took the job is beyond me.