Lied Center leader to retire

Thu, 04/04/2013


Jill Jess Phythyon
KU News Service

LAWRENCE – Tim Van Leer, executive director of the Lied Center of Kansas, today announced that he will retire at the end of 2013.

Van Leer joined the Lied Center in 2001 and has overseen events such as Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in 2004 -- part of the Lied’s 10th anniversary season -- and the 2008 performance of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman conductor and violin soloist. More recently, he directed the expansion of the Lied Center lobby and the construction of the Pavilion, which offers a more intimate space for a variety of KU and community functions.

“The work of presenting the performing arts, as we know it today, started at KU in 1903,” Van Leer said. “I’m truly grateful to everyone who has supported the staff and me, as well as the thousands of artists who have graced the Lied Center stage. The volunteer ushers, the Friends of the Lied board of directors and the many Friends whose generous support helped in so many ways to the success of the Lied Center.”

Mary Lee Hummert, vice provost for faculty support, praised Van Leer’s knowledge of the arts and his dedication to bringing challenging, world-class performances to the university.

“Tim is committed to educating the community through the arts,” Hummert said. “He and his team teach by example that the arts are a vital part of lifelong learning. The magic and majesty of the performers he brought to the Lied Center have enlightened and uplifted audiences for years. We thank him for his leadership.”

Marilyn McCleary, a board member of the Friends of the Lied, said she would miss Van Leer for many reasons but that she was most grateful for the entertainment and education she and the community have received as a result of his work.

“Tim has taken us on a grand ride by bringing in a wide variety of performers from aspiring young artists to the cherished tried and true,” McCleary said. “The results of Tim Van Leer's love for the arts, the patrons and the performers are seen in the new Pavilion, the special activities for the Friends of the Lied and the educational experiences provided for kindergarten through college students and the public.”  

Hummert said a national search for a new executive director would begin soon.

The Lied Center celebrated its grand opening with “The Secret Garden” in 1993, with Van Leer in attendance.

“Jackie Davis (the first executive director) and I have been friends and colleagues for many years,” Van Leer said. “She was kind enough to invite me. I never thought that nine years later I would be the Lied Center’s executive director.”

The Lied will announce the lineup for the upcoming 20th season April 27.

Among the performances Van Leer noted from his tenure:

November 2002: Turtle Island Quartet and the Ying Quartet came together to explore the boundaries of chamber music. One of the results of this residency was the development of the CD Four + 4 which won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover.

October 2003: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Murray Perahia conductor and piano soloist

April 2004: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble helped us celebrate the Lied Center’s 10th Anniversary Season.

May 2004: Bang On A Can All-Stars with Terry Riley and Philip Glass. This once-in-a-lifetime event fused the visionary styles of these significant contributors to modern music.

November 2005: Kronos Quartet performed the World Premiere of Gabriella Frank composition.

October 2005: Merce Cunningham Dance Company

November 2005: Ravi Shankar and Festival of India

January 2007: Lorin Maazel conducts the Toscanini Philharmonic

January 2008: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman conductor and violin soloist

February 2008 & 2010: Pilobolus Dance Theatre


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