BAM and Barbican get new bosses: spot the difference

BAM and Barbican get new bosses: spot the difference


norman lebrecht

February 09, 2022

Brooklyn Academy of Music has appointed its former film v-p, Gina Duncan, as president. She returns after a two-year stint at Sundance

London’s Barbican Centre has gone halfway across the world to find Claire Spencer at an arts centre in Australia.

BAM has hired from the inside, the Barbican from way beyond.

BAM has taken more than a year to consult before choosing a person of known qualities. The Barbican has rushed into an appointment and chosen someone without senior London experience.

The Barbican is fighting fires of racism and irrelevance; it has spent five years dreaming of a new hall that will never rise. BAM, on the other hand, is sitting pretty. Duncan says she has a ‘strong foundation to start from’ and ‘an institution is its people’.


  • Orlando says:

    This ‘an arts centre in Australia’ is in fact one of the largest performing arts organisations in the country, running 3 venues: the State Theatre (mutiple stages for theatre, opera, ballet), Hamer Hall (symphonic music) and the outdoor venue Myer Bowl. With resident companies such as Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, it’s a major venue and running it successfully for many years puts you in an excellent position for running the Barbican.

  • Player says:

    Claire Spencer must be delighted to be liberated from Prison Oz!