UT Texas Performing Arts Names New Director

Bob Bursey
Bob Bursey, incoming executive director of UT's Texas Performing Arts. Photo by Lawrence Peart.

Bob Bursey, a Tony Award-winning producer and current executive director of the Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College, has been appointed the executive director of Texas Performing Arts, the performing arts presenting organization of The University of Texas at Austin.

During Bursey’s seven-year tenure at the Fisher Center — a Frank Gehry-designed building on the Bard campus in New York — he’s eliminated a seven-figure annual deficit, created a $5 student ticket fund and helped launch a new work commissioning and artist residency program. He netted his Tony via the 2019 Tony Award-winning reinvention of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” which began as a student production at Bard.

“Bob has attracted national and international attention for his work on imaginative festivals and original commissions,” said Doug Dempster, dean of UT’s College of Fine Arts. “His focus on interdisciplinarity and entrepreneurship make him a great fit for the College of Fine Arts.”

UT’s Texas Performing Arts manages venues that range in size from the 244-seat Brockett Theater to 2,900-seat Bass Concert Hall. It oversees some 280 performances a year in music, theater, dance and touring Broadway productions.

Prior to his time at Bard, Bursey spent 10 years as producing director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company.

Bursey replaces Kathy Panoff who took the helm at TPA in August 2009, and left in 2018 for health reasons. During her tenure, Panoff netted three large grants from the Mellon Foundation ($450,000, $400,000 and $500,000) that leveraged the commissioning of new work, especially new music, and supported adventurous programming.

Bursey begins his new post Jan. 1, 2020, and his first full slate of programming for Texas Performing Arts will begin with the 2020–21 season. He will hold an additional appointment in UT’s College of Fine Arts as an associate professor of practice. Originally from Virginia, Bursey will relocate to Austin this fall with his wife, the leading dance educator and Texas native Leah Cox, and their young children.