Carnegie Hall's Jeremy N. Geffen Named Cal Performances Director

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Jeremy Geffen takes the helm of Cal Performances on Apr. 1, 2019 after 12 years at Carnegie Hall.  (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Gotham Magazine)

Following Matías Tarnopolsky's departure last March from Cal Performances, Jeremy Geffen is set to step in as the executive and artistic director of UC Berkeley's performing arts organization starting Apr. 1.

Geffen, who was born in South Africa and raised in Southern California, comes to Cal Performances after 12 years at New York's Carnegie Hall, where he most recently served as senior director and artistic adviser. 

At Carnegie Hall, Geffen led approximately 160 performances each season, including concerts that focused on international issues and important periods in the United States' musical and social history. The 2018-19 season, his last at Carnegie Hall, features a concert with San Francisco's Kronos Quartet performing music by composers from Muslim-majority countries impacted by Trump's travel bans; a celebration of Nat King Cole's 100th birthday; and a performance by boundary-pushing chamber music collective Decoda with the tagline "punk, funk and circumstance."

Geffen inherits a similarly progressive direction in programming from his predecessor. Tarnopolsky founded a series called Berkeley RADICAL, which features musical and dance performances that focus on issues like gender equality, immigration and race.

In a press release, Geffen praised UC Berkeley's forward-thinking campus community: "I look forward to establishing new collaborations—both on- and off-campus—that harness the power and imagination of the arts to create intellectually engaging explorations of the most fascinating—and pressing—issues of our time, and to exploring the ways the performing arts lead us to greater understanding of ourselves."


Geffen isn't the only recent New York transplant to head a major Bay Area arts organization. Thomas Campbell, who led the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was appointed director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco last October.