Cal Performances interim executive and artistic directors chosen amid current director’s resignation process

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After Cal Performances Executive and Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky leaves this summer, S. Shariq Yosufzai and Rob Bailis will take over as interim executive director and interim artistic director on June 15, respectively, according to a statement from Chancellor Carol Christ on Thursday.

Tarnopolsky is stepping down from his nine-year tenure to serve as the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Christ said in the statement. Currently, Yosufzai serves as a vice chair of the Cal Performances Board of Trustees, and Bailis is the Cal Performances associate director.

According to Bailis, Tarnopolsky’s tenure brought growth in international scope and importance, as well as an understanding of the community’s audiences.

“(Cal Performances) is an anchor of the Bay Area culture and life,” Tarnopolsky said. “The impact goes beyond the campus of UC Berkeley to include collaborators locally, nationally and internationally.”

Student Musical Activities Director Brad Brennan said Tarnopolsky has done an excellent job and deserves everyone’s best wishes.

“The staff and the community at large will miss him terribly,” Bailis said. “He brought in a warmth, an intelligence and a deep love of serious concert music.”

Tarnopolsky said he is “delighted with the plan” to have Yosufzai and Bailis lead Cal Performances on an interim basis. He said Yosufzai’s understanding of business and love for the performing arts will make him a good director.

Another board member, Jeff MacKie-Mason, said Bailis is great for his position because of his artistic creativity and his “never-ending supply of great ideas.”

“I can think of no better position for the organization to be in than to have Rob and Shariq at the helm during this transition period,” Tarnopolsky said.

Yosufzai said his goal is to continue Tarnopolsky’s work — in collaboration with Bailis — in maintaining continuity with donors and providing an “incredible” experience for the artists and audience.

Bailis also plans to focus on ensuring that Cal Performances’ operations have “the same kind of artistic and operational excellence” that Tarnopolsky led with.

Christ, along with board co-chairs Susan L. Graham and Helen Meyer, will lead the search for a permanent director, according to the campuswide email. She also mentioned in a separate email that they will be looking for one person to head both the operating and artistic functions within Cal Performances by the beginning of the next calendar year.

“I hope they bring a sense of passion and ambition and great joy in sharing the wonderful gifts that Cal Performances can help bring to our community, both on our stages and beyond our stages,” Tarnopolsky said.

Contact Margaret Black and Nathan Chin at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Matías Tarnopolsky’s final day as executive and artistic director of Cal Performances would be June 15. In fact, the interim directors will take office on June 15.