Nathan Leventhal, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts since 1984, is stepping down in December, he and Lincoln Center Chairperson Beverly Sills announced.
An opera buff, Leventhal, 57, is largely responsible for creating Jazz at Lincoln Center, the largest orchestra-based jazz performance and education program in the country. Until the program was launched, in 1990, Lincoln Center presented only opera, ballet and classical music.
"While Nat's departure from the position of president is a tremendous loss, I have insisted that he remain a part of the Lincoln Center family," Sills said. "I will propose to the Lincoln Center Board that he become a director as of January 1, 2001."
Lincoln Center is in a $1.5 billion expansion phase, which includes enhancements to the jazz program. A site for Jazz at Lincoln Center has been found in Manhattan's Columbus Circle and is slated to open in 2003.
"For the past 16 years I have had the greatest job in the world," Leventhal said. As a prospective board member, I am thrilled that I will continue to work closely with Beverly, who as a leader and friend has been an inspiration to me and the entire Lincoln Center family."