(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) — Liza Parker has been named executive director of the Fisher Center at Bard College, a leading performing arts center and hub for research and education, and Gideon Lester has been named the Fisher Center’s new artistic director.
The Fisher Center hosts world-class performances in the Hudson Valley year-round. Open to the public, these events include classical, jazz, opera, and world music; theater; dance; and multimedia performances. The Fisher Center is the location of the annual Bard SummerScape performing arts festival and the Bard Music Festival
Previously a member of the senior leadership team at Lincoln Center,
most recently as chief operating officer, Liza Parker was responsible for overall strategy and direction, overseeing management of the campus, including Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. As executive director of the Fisher Center, she will lead senior administration, and manage operations and external relations for the Center’s professional and educational programs.
A curator of contemporary theater, dance, and performance, Gideon Lester has been the artistic director for theater and dance at the Fisher Center since 2012, as well as professor of theater and performance and director of the undergraduate Theater and Performance Program at Bard College.
“I’m delighted to welcome Liza Parker to the leadership team of the Fisher Center,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “She brings to Bard a depth and breadth of experience, and a commitment to making the Hudson Valley an international center for the arts, that is well suited to an institution that celebrates the significance of the arts through teaching and innovative professional performances.”
“Liza Parker will play an integral role in advancing the Fisher Center’s mission as an innovator in the performing arts,” said Jeanne Donovan Fisher, chair of the Fisher Center’s advisory board. “Under visionary Maestro Leon Botstein and with Gideon Lester as artistic director, Parker will lead an exceptional and creative team at a key moment for this singular and path-breaking institution.”
Designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 2003, the Fisher Center presents more than 200 world-class events and welcomes 50,000 visitors each year. The Fisher Center is a powerful catalyst of art making regionally, nationally, and worldwide, with a strong emphasis on development, research, innovation, and rediscovery.
Every year, the Fisher Center produces eight to 10 major new works across disciplines, including opera, classical music, theater, dance, performance art, and cabaret. The Fisher Center has been recognized for producing premiere operas, including the first fully staged U.S. productions of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s The Miracle of Heliane and Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers, as well the development and world premieres of widely heralded dance and theater productions, such as Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets and Daniel Fish’s staging of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!, which began at Bard SummerScape in 2015 before going on to Broadway and winning the 2019 Tony Award for best musical revival.
About Liza Parker
Liza Parker is a senior arts administrator who joined Lincoln Center in 2002 serving in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as Lincoln Center’s Chief Operating Officer.
As chief operating officer, she was responsible for the management of Lincoln Center’s 16-acre campus. Her scope of responsibility included oversight for the production, performance, and rental activities in Lincoln Center’s venues as well as all operations of the campus She also provided the strategy and direction for all aspects of human resources and labor relations. Additionally she had responsibility for Lincoln Center’s capitol initiatives including the David Rubenstein Atrium and David Geffen Hall.
Parker is a graduate of Philips Andover, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Columbia University Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.
About Gideon Lester
A leading curator of contemporary theater, dance, and performance, Gideon Lester has produced and presented performances by preeminent artists from around the world, including Justin Vivian Bond, Romeo Castellucci, Tania El Khoury, Neil Gaiman, John Jasperse, Ralph Lemon, Faustin Linyekula, Krystian Lupa, Brice Marden, Kaija Saariaho, Peter Sellars, and Anna Deavere Smith. At the Fisher Center his recent commissions include the premiere of Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets, Ronald K. Brown and Meshell Ndegeocello’s Grace, Sarah Michelson’s September 2017/\, Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! (Tony Award), Dan Hurlin’s Demolishing Everything at Amazing Speed, and the Wooster Group’s A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique). He directs Live Arts Bard, the Fisher Center’s residency and commissioning program, and curates the LAB Biennials. For seven years he cocurated Crossing the Line, a transdisciplinary arts festival in New York City, and he has also served as artistic director and resident dramaturg at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He previously taught at Harvard, where he was a Fulbright and Frank Knox Scholar, and Columbia University School of the Arts, where he founded the Arts Collaboration Lab in association with PS122. His translations include plays by Marivaux, Büchner, and Brecht; stage adaptations include Kafka’s Amerika, Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire, and Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. Lester has a BA from the University of Oxford and diploma in dramaturgy from Harvard University.
About the Fisher Center
The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present, as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 160-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.