Michele Berendsen
Lied Center of Kansas

Derek Kwan named new director for Lied Center of Kansas

Wed, 11/20/2013

LAWRENCE — Derek Kwan, vice president of concerts and touring at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, will be the new executive director of the Lied Center of Kansas.

Derek KwanAt Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kwan oversees a business unit encompassing programming, the marketing of hundreds of annual performances in New York and the international touring of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. In September 2012 he helped to implement webcasts of performances that have generated viewers from all 50 states and more than 160 countries. His current role is unique in that he simultaneously serves as both a performing arts presenter and artist manager for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Kwan has been vice president at Jazz at Lincoln Center since 2012. He had previously been an associate director from 2000 to 2005. Kwan will replace Executive Director Tim Van Leer, who is retiring after leading the Lied Center for the last 12 years.

“I am very excited that we will have a leader of Derek’s caliber to assume the executive directorship at the Lied Center,” said Vice Provost Mary Lee Hummert in announcing the appointment. “The search committee, chaired by Dean Robert Walzel of the School of Music, and all who met Derek agreed that he had the professional accomplishments, vision and enthusiasm that will ensure the ongoing success of the Lied Center as it enters its third decade of operation. We can count on Derek to not only continue but to expand the Lied’s outreach to the campus and the region while bringing the best of the performing arts to KU.”

“It is an absolute privilege to join KU as part of the Lied Center team,” said Kwan, who will begin his new position in January. “There is something unique and stimulating about university communities, and Lawrence is one of the greatest college towns in the country. I am energized by the idea that we will need to continually evolve in order to remain relevant on campus and in the community.”

Kwan’s career also includes time as executive director of Interlochen Presents at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan from 2007 to 2012, where he collaborated with arts and academic faculty to program guest artists to enhance existing curriculum. He managed events ranging from internationally renowned guests to student and faculty presentations. Guest artists during his tenure included Olga Kern, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Emerson String Quartet as well as the program "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor."

Kwan earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University. In 2007, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. He served as education and outreach coordinator for the Wisconsin Union Theater while pursuing his MBA. He spent several years as a freelance record producer. His credits include more than 60 world/jazz music albums, including the 2005 Grammy-winning album “Bebo de Cuba” by Bebo Valdes.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to build upon the incredible foundation established by Jackie Davis and Tim Van Leer during the Lied Center’s first 20 years,” Kwan said. “When visiting campus, it was readily apparent that the University of Kansas and Lawrence value the Lied Center as an integral part of the community. The warmth, passion and enthusiasm conveyed by everyone I encountered truly inspired me. Our family looks forward to joining KU and the Lawrence community.”

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