Arts & culture, Campus & community, Campus news, Performing arts

Cal Performances’ new leader hails from Carnegie Hall

Jeremy Geffen, the next executive and artistic director of Berkeley's performing arts organization, arrives from one of the nation's top cultural centers

Jeremy Geffen
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ today announced the appointment of Cal Performances’ new executive and artistic director, with this letter to the campus:
Dear campus community,

It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Carnegie Hall’s Jeremy Geffen as the next executive and artistic director of Cal Performances. He will take the helm of our campus’s performing arts organization on April 1, 2019.

Jeremy Geffen

Jeremy Geffen

As Carnegie Hall’s senior director and artistic adviser, Jeremy currently leads artistic planning for one of the most celebrated and prestigious performance spaces in the world. He is in charge of developing concerts, creating thematic and festival programming, and setting the overall artistic vision for each season of work produced at the renowned arts organization. Jeremy additionally leads Carnegie Hall’s audience education programs, manages artist and partner relations, and directs the commissioning of new works for each of the venue’s three stages.

By virtue of his experience, aesthetic sensibility, and character, Jeremy stood out among a large and exceptionally talented pool of applicants from across the globe who applied to be Cal Performances’ next leader. He is an adventurous and imaginative artistic director, a thoughtful connector who will bring with him close ties to a new and diverse set of artists and partners, a seasoned executive who will help ensure Cal Performances’ financial sustainability, and a community-minded leader who will strengthen the organization’s connections to campus and the broader Bay Area.

At Carnegie Hall, Jeremy expanded the profile, quality, and number of its early music offerings by introducing annual Handel performances and producing festivals focused on lesser-known music of the late Renaissance through the early Baroque period. He also encouraged the organization to incorporate more jazz, world music, American roots, pop and other genres into its offerings. Jeremy built festival programming highlighting the music and cultures of Japan, China, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and other nations. He oversaw thematic programming for celebrations of South Africa 20 years after the election of Nelson Mandela, the United States in the 1960s, and migration and its impact on American culture.

A passionate advocate for giving emerging talent the opportunities necessary to advance as performers, Jeremy also led Carnegie Hall’s fellowship program for high-caliber young artists and recently spearheaded a project that brought more than 125 new commissions from a diverse set of composers.

Before joining Carnegie Hall, Jeremy served as vice president for artistic administration for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Before that, he was artistic administrator for the New York Philharmonic and the Aspen Music Festival and School. A violist by training, Jeremy received his bachelor’s degree in music industry from the University of Southern California in 1997. You can learn more about Jeremy and his background in this press release on Cal Performances’ website.

I would like to extend my deep thanks to those who served on the search advisory committee for an excellent choice of executive and artistic director. With Jeremy’s hiring, I am excited to have in place an ambitious leader who will help lift Cal Performances — already one of the nation’s leading presenters of performing arts — to exciting new heights.

At the same time, I would also like to offer my sincere appreciation to Cal Performances Board of Trustees Vice Chair Shariq Yosufzai for serving as interim executive director of the organization, to Cal Performances Associate Director Rob Bailis for serving as interim artistic director, and to the many staff and board members who stepped up and took on additional duties during this period of transition. Thank you for your stewardship.

Please join me in welcoming Jeremy Geffen to Berkeley and wishing him the greatest success in this new role.


Carol T. Christ