Yesterday, the Brooklyn Academy of Music announced that its search to replace the departing Karen Brooks Hopkins as president was complete: the successor will be Katy Clark, who since October 2010 has served as president and Executive Director of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a 40-year-old classical ensemble comprised of freelance musicians. Like Hopkins, Clark will lead BAM alongside longtime BAM Executive Producer Joseph Melillo. The transition will begin this summer.
Although the Brooklyn Academy of Music dwarfs the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in scale, there are parallels to be drawn between BAM under Hopkins and OSL under Clark. During Clark’s stewardship, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s significantly expanded its scope, mission, and budget, including launching community-building and education programs such as Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s, OSL@DMC, and St. Luke’s Subway Series. When we spoke with Hopkins back in March, she proudly noted the community-oriented efforts BAM has made during her tenure, and suggested that would continue to be a big part of BAM’s operations.
Clark was born and raised in Wales, and has a classical music background: she holds a master’s degree in violin performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Certificate in Arts Management from Birbeck College, University of London. From 1994 to 1999 she was a violinist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, and from 2001 to 2004, she led the Philadelphia chapter of the American Composers Forum. She initially joined the OSL in 2005 as director of development.
Reached via email, Clark wasn’t ready to talk about her plans for BAM, yet. She’ll be working alongside Hopkins for a time, before the transition is complete. “Like so many, I was a long time fan of BAM, not just as an arts lover, but also as a fan of BAM’s organizational courage and ambition,” Clark said. “I liked its restless artistic energy, its relentless quest to serve audiences in Brooklyn and beyond, and its sense of place and identity. I also admired BAM’s leadership, from Harvey [Lichtenstein] through to Karen and Joe. Their dedication to Brooklyn, and role in the creation of the cultural district was an inspiration to me.”
Alan H. Fishman, the Chairman of the Board at BAM, said in a press release: “During the 36 years that outgoing President Karen Brooks Hopkins has been at BAM, she has been instrumental in the tremendous growth of the institution and in the cultural development of Brooklyn as a whole. All in all, she has played a key role in making BAM what it is today. BAM and Brooklyn continue to evolve in exciting ways, and we are delighted with our choice of Katy Clark as the person best suited to take this vibrant organization into the future.”