Brooklyn Academy of Music's longtime president Karen Brooks Hopkins has announced that she will step down from her post in June 2015. Brooks will end her 35-year tenure with BAM, having served as the institution's president since 1999 when she and current Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo assumed leadership from former President and Executive Producer Harvey Lichtenstein.
"Karen has been my professional partner for the last fourteen years, and my trusted colleague here at BAM since 1983," says Melillo. "Many of us cannot imagine BAM without her, but among her myriad achievements perhaps the signature one is this: she has created such strength and stability for this institution that it can and will continue to triumph beyond her indomitable, peerless leadership."
BAM Board Chairman Alan H. Fishman said in a statement, "Bittersweet as it is to announce any transition as significant as this one, I believe it is equally important to seize the moment to convey to the public the magnitude of Karen's professional achievements and to use this time to celebrate both Karen and BAM, whose successes are inexorably intertwined."
During her tenure, Hopkins expanded and renovated BAM's campus and facilities, launched the BAM Endowment in partnership with Lichtenstein in 1992, which, as of 2013, had grown to $90 million, and partnered BAM with major arts and cultural institutions on programming and events, including American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Barclays Center, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Kennedy Center, National Book Foundation, New York City Opera, Sundance Institute, and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, among many other notable accomplishments. "Those who know me know that I often speak of our collective work at BAM as a crusade," says Hopkins. "Having been on the front lines for over three decades, I can say I have never been more proud of BAM's success both globally and right here in Brooklyn. I am confident and hopeful regarding its future, and look forward to watching it all unfold, hopefully from an aisle orchestra seat."