Next year, Kaufman Music Center will say goodbye to one of the longest-serving professional leaders of an arts center in NYC history. Lydia Kontos has announced that she is retiring as executive director after nearly 40 years of service to the center, with a target date of September 2018. The Center’s Board of Trustees will shorlty embark on a national search for a new executive director.
That successor will have some big shoes to fill: Lydia’s impact on the organization, the New York music scene, and music nationally – particularly contemporary classical music – is enormous. Under her leadership, Kaufman Music Center is now widely recognized as an organization with a large music education footprint in the city. During Ms. Kontos’s tenure, Kaufman Music Center has evolved into a highly-independent, nimble organization known for its deep commitment to music education and performance, played out through many programs that were launched through her leadership.
Lydia says, “Kaufman Music Center has been a pioneer, an innovator, highly independent, and very mission-focused – that, I think, is how I’d like my tenure, and the tenures of my successors, to be remembered. Finding ways to have a profound impact on many lives has been easy; making our public mark in an ever-changing market has been our biggest challenge. But it is a challenge we have met head-on and successfully navigated. We are always anticipating the future, a couple of steps ahead of others. Our ‘numbers served’ data is no match for that of other, much larger institutions, but our ‘lives changed’ data is at the top. That’s what has kept me charged up over the past 40 years, and makes me most proud.”
Click here to read more about the evolution of Kaufman Music Center under Lydia Kontos, and the generous supporters who have made the Center’s work possible.
Read about Lydia's retirement in Chamber Music America's Accent and Hellenic News of America.