They Told Me Not to Take that Job: Tumult, Betrayal, Heroics, and the Transformation of Lincoln Center

Levy, Reynold

Published by PublicAffairs
ISBN 10: 1610393619 / ISBN 13: 9781610393614
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Num Pages: 376 pages, 8-pp. 4/C insert on gloss. BIC Classification: APB; AS; BGB; BGF; KNT. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 156 x 36. Weight in Grams: 602. . 2015. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Reynold Levy joined Lincoln Center in 2002. When he did so America?s leading arts venue was routinely described in terms like this:

“Behind the scenes, however, Lincoln Center is a community in deep distress, riven by conflict over a grandiose $1 billion redevelopment plan… instead of uniting the Center?s constituent arts organizations behind a common goal, the project has pitted them against one another in open warfare more reminiscent of the shoot-out at the OK Corral than of a night at the opera. ‘To say that it is a mess is putting it mildly,? says Johanna Fiedler, the author and a former staff member at the Metropolitan Opera. ‘There is nobody running the show right now.?? (Leslie Bennetts, New York Magazine¸ February 4, 2002)

To choose to be President of Lincoln Center of one?s own free will was regarded by Reynold Levy?s friends and mentors as bordering on a self-destructive act. Rivalries abounded. Personalities clashed. Egos reigned. Reputations were badly damaged. And many of the tensions were dramatically played out in public and assiduously reported by a delighted press.

Levy had just spent six years traipsing through much of the Third World and many failed states as the President of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the world?s leading refugee assistance organizations. Having dealt with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Serbia, even Joe Volpe, the volcanic manager of the Metropolitan Opera seemed hardly daunting. Lincoln Center, its key figures with their bombast and betrayals was not South Sudan. So he set to, and during his presidency transformed Lincoln Center?s entire 16-acre campus including the city block from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue.

With the new Alice Tully Hall, the expansion of The Juilliard School, two new screening rooms and an education center for the Film Society, new dance studios for the School of American Ballet, came a beautifully designed, graceful welcome to Lincoln Center?s main campus, one filled with light and life. There were new green spaces, new restaurants, a totally wifi?d campus that displayed 21st Century technology indoors and out. And a remodeled, utterly transformed, privately owned public space called the David Rubenstein Atrium, named after its principal donor, a new Lincoln Center Commons, opened free of charge to the public 365 days a year.

This book reveals the real story behind the 1.2 billion dollar reinvention of Lincoln Center, and all the trials and triumphs along the way. It contains unique lessons for leaders in all kinds of organizations, cautionary tales for employees, volunteers and donors, and inspiring clarity for anyone who wants to lead an institution they believe in so that it can become the best version of itself.

Product Description: When Reynold Levy became the new president of Lincoln Center in 2002, New York Magazine described the situation he walked in to as “a community in deep distress, riven by conflict.? Ideas for the redevelopment of Lincoln Center's artistic facilities and public spaces required spending more than 1.2 billion, but there was no clear pathway for how to raise that kind of unprecedented sum. The individual resident organizations that were the key constituents of Lincoln Center—the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard School, and eight others—could not agree on a common capital plan or fundraising course of action. Instead, intramural rivalries and disputes filled the vacuum.

Besides, some of those organizations had daunting problems of their own. Levy tells the inside story of the demise of the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera's need to use as collateral its iconic Chagall tapestries in the face of mounting operating losses, and the New York Philharmonic's dalliance with Carnegie Hall.

Yet despite these and other challenges, Levy and the extraordinary civic leaders at his side were able to shape a consensus for the physical modernization of the sixteen-acre campus and raise the money necessary to maintain Lincoln Center as the country's most vibrant performing arts destination. By the time he left, Lincoln Center had prepared itself fully for the next generation of artists and audiences.

They Told Me Not to Take That Job is more than a memoir of life at the heart of one of the world's most prominent cultural institutions. It is also a case study of leadership and management in action. How Levy and his colleagues triumphantly steered Lincoln Center—through perhaps the most tumultuous decade of its history to a startling transformation—is fully captured in his riveting account.

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Title: They Told Me Not to Take that Job: Tumult, ...
Publisher: PublicAffairs
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