Indian American is new artistic leader of Lincoln Center

New York: Feeling the pressure to attract new audiences and rethink its offerings even before being upended by the coronavirus pandemic, Lincoln Center announced Tuesday that it had chosen Shanta Thake, a theater executive with a reputation for working across disciplines, as its next chief artistic officer, reports The New York Times.

Indian American Shanta Thake was most recently an associate artistic director at the Public Theater. She will assume the role at the nation’s largest performing arts complex, as it works to broaden its appeal beyond classical music and ballet into genres such as hip-hop, poetry and songwriting.

Shant was born in Wisconsin to a German/American father and an Indian mother. mum. Her dad met her mum when he was in the Peace Corps in Malaysia, and she moved back with him to the States after that.

Thake — who at the Public Theater, spent a decade managing Joe’s Pub, a cabaret-style venue, and more recently began overseeing Under the Radar, Public Works and other programs there — said she was eager to bring more popular and world music to Lincoln Center.

“The goal is expansive reach,” Thake, 41, said in an interview. “What’s missing? What have we left out? What stories aren’t we telling that feel like they’re demanding to be told at this moment?”

Lincoln Center is the landlord of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and other independent institutions, which are responsible for their own programming. But it is also a presenting organization in its own right, putting on hundreds of events each year and running the Mostly Mozart and White Light festivals, which have been primarily devoted to the classical arts. The center and its constituent organizations have competed, sometimes tensely, for rehearsal and performance space, ticket sales and donations.

Thake will oversee the work Lincoln Center presents, and said in the interview that its robust classical offerings would be maintained. “We’re not looking to erase history here,” she said.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy Indiana University)

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