Kennedy Center Names Senior Artistic Veep

Robert Kellett van Leer, most recently managing director of the heralded European arts consulting firm Wonderbird, will fill the newly created position of senior vice president of artistic planning at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Following other recent hirings, van Leer, who has dual American and Dutch citizenship, will complete Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter’s senior management team. He begins work July 6.

“Robert brings a wealth of multidisciplinary arts experience and creative leadership to the table, and I am excited to partner with him and our creative curatorial team of administrators and artistic leaders to shape the artistic vision for the center in the years to come,” said Rutter. “His commitment and innovative approach to the artistic endeavor will build and expand on our mission to provide innovative programming that reflects the core of John F. Kennedy’s legacy.”

At Wonderbird, based in London, van Leer did strategic cultural consulting with preeminent performing-arts and visual-arts organizations and philanthropic corporate clients. Previously, he was managing director of Nederlands Dans Theater, one of the world’s leading dance companies, where he increased revenues threefold, managed a budget of $15 million and supervised a staff of 110.

Earlier, he was head of music at London’s Barbican Centre, transforming its concert hall into a creative center for the commission, curation and presentation of global music in a multi-arts context. He also held positions with Wigmore Hall in London and Lincoln Center in New York.

“To work with the extraordinary artists and experienced, talented programming professionals at the Center across such a wide spectrum of the performing arts is a particular delight for me,” said van Leer. “Working together alongside our colleagues in education, as well as partners old and new, will provide the creative opportunities to manifest the voice of the Center for a new era while respecting the original vision.”

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