They Told Me Not to Take That Job: Tumult, Betrayal, Heroics, and the Transformation of Lincoln Center

By Reynold Levy
When Reynold Levy became the new president of Lincoln Center in 2002, New York Magazine described the situation he walked in to as "a community in deep distress, riven by conflict." Ideas for the redevelopment of Lincoln Center's artistic facilities and public spaces required spending more than 1.2 billion, but there was no clear pathway for how to raise that kind of unprecedented sum. The individual resident organizations that were the key constituents of Lincoln Center--the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard School, and eight others--could not agree on a common capital plan or fundraising course of action. Instead, intramural rivalries and disputes filled the vacuum.

Besides, some of those organizations had daunting problems of their own. Levy tells the inside story of the demise of the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera's need to use as collateral its iconic Chagall tapestries in the face of mounting operating losses, and the New York Philharmonic's dalliance with Carnegie Hall.

Yet despite these and other challenges, Levy and the extraordinary civic leaders at his side were able to shape a consensus for the physical modernization of the sixteen-acre campus and raise the money necessary to maintain Lincoln Center as the country's most vibrant performing arts destination. By the time he left, Lincoln Center had prepared itself fully for the next generation of artists and audiences.

They Told Me Not to Take That Job is more than a memoir of life at the heart of one of the world's most prominent cultural institutions. It is also a case study of leadership and management in action. How Levy and his colleagues triumphantly steered Lincoln Center--through perhaps the most tumultuous decade of its history to a startling transformation--is fully captured in his riveting account.

"Reynold Levy has a rare blend of talents, all of which are on display in this compelling book, a memoir that is neither self-reverential nor full of false pieties. There is no bitterness, but there is surprising candor. Prominent people should be shamed, including those who nearly ran great cultural institutions into the ground. The lessons to be extracted could fuel an entire curriculum at the Harvard Business School, or a Department of Psychology." -Ken Auletta, bestselling author and writer for "The New Yorker" "Reynold Levy led the 21st century transformation of Lincoln Center and his depiction of that undertaking is incisive, fresh and entertaining. "They Told Me Not to Take That Job" is brilliant and highly readable. Anyone who cares about how great cultural organizations operate and grow must read Levy's masterful account." -David Rubenstein, Co-Founder of the Carlyle Group "The qualities that Reynold Levy marshals in this book are the very ones that transformed Lincoln Center, and before that, the International Rescue Committee and the 92nd Street Y. Strategic vision, fearless execution, attention to revealing detail, relentless zest...Levy takes us on an inspiring personal journey brimming with passion, wisdom, generosity and nimble humor. We are treated to a celebration of the arts, an illuminating inside story, an ode to the city of New York and a meditation on leadership. Like any prized work of art, it both captivates and stimulates. I am telling everyone not to miss this tour de force." -Winston Lord, Former US Ambassador to China and Chair Emeritus, International Rescue Committee


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About the Hardcover

Publisher Not available
Publish date 05/12/2015
Pages 376
ISBN-13 9781610393614
ISBN-10 1610393619
Language English

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