Lincoln Center to End Its Namesake Summer Festival

Ms. Moss has worked to give audiences experiences. She brought New York the South African artist William Kentridge’s multimedia staging of Schubert’s “Winterreise”; the Hungarian conductor Ivan Fischer’s inventive productions of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “Le Nozze di Figaro”; and intimate performances of Brahms’s “German Requiem” that put the audience among the Berlin Radio Choir as they walked through the Synod House at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Many of her coups were made possible through collaborations: Ms. Moss learned to cooperate in the sometimes sharp-elbowed classical music world with entities that in the past might have been viewed as rivals. The “St. Matthew Passion” was possible because she worked with Carnegie Hall, which was bringing the Berlin Philharmonic to New York, and the Armory. “Written on Skin” was the fruit of a new partnership formed by Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic to mount staged operas. And Ms. Moss has survived — and thrived — amid the battles that can play out behind Lincoln Center’s travertine facades, managing to grow in power through successive administrations.

“I say this tongue in cheek, but I’m sure there’s a certain amount of truth to it: I’m one of six children,” said Ms. Moss, who grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and majored in philosophy at Franklin & Marshall College. “If you’re one of six children, you learn the art of negotiation. And if your position is number five out of six, your only choice is to figure out alliances.”

While the Lincoln Center Festival had its detractors — Zachary Woolfe wrote in The New York Times that it had “felt jumbled and tired in recent years” — it did bring to New York world-class organizations like the Bolshoi Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Nigel Redden, who stepped down this summer as the director of the Lincoln Center Festival after 20 years, lamented its demise, saying that the festival had been especially valuable in providing a platform for non-Western art forms that might not otherwise be seen at Lincoln Center, including Noh theater and Kabuki theater from Japan, Indonesian dance, and others.


Ms. Moss, left, backstage on Saturday with Hanako Yamaguchi, Lincoln Center’s director of music programming, and Peter Phillips, the director of the Tallis Scholars. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

“I feel New York will be somewhat poorer for not seeing them,” said Mr. Redden, who now concentrates on his other job, leading the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C.

Ms. Moss, whose main background before coming to Lincoln Center was in theater, including time as the executive director of Playwrights Horizons, said she expected to program more theatrical events, but did not say whether the old kind of big-ticket event would return with regularity.

She was in her element this weekend, wrapping up the kind of signature spectacle she has become known for: a 12-concert marathon of 150 biblical psalms set to music by 150 different composers. As she sat in her box at Alice Tully Hall next to the man she describes as her “beau,” the businessman and philanthropist Ravenel Curry, she gently swayed as the Tallis Scholars sang a cappella.

Then she walked into the lobby, where many White Light concerts end with free plastic cups of wine, and stood expectantly. Julian Wachner, the music director of Trinity Wall Street, climbed on a table and began conducting an impromptu concert of choristers in street clothes — drawn from his choir, the Tallis Scholars, the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Norwegian Soloists Choir.

People gasped, froze, and took out their smartphones to film. Ms. Moss smiled. It was an experience.

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