Michael M. Kaiser


Biography for Michael M. Kaiser

Michael M. Kaiser is Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. The Institute provides advanced training to arts administrators and board members and consulting support to arts, academic and governmental institutions. Since its inception, the Institute has advised thousands of individuals, organizations, governments, and foundations throughout the United States and in more than 80 countries on six continents. The Institute’s programs include capacity building programs which have served more than 1,000 organizations in cities across the globe and fellowships for both American and international arts leaders. Founded by Mr. Kaiser in 2001 at the Kennedy Center, the Institute moved to the University of Maryland when Mr. Kaiser retired from his position at the Kennedy Center.

From 2001–14, Kaiser served as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the nation's center for the performing arts, where he expanded educational and artistic programming, oversaw a major renovation effort of eight of the Center’s theaters, initiated a major physical expansion and led the country in arts management training.

Signature artistic programs during his tenure included an unprecedented celebration of the works of Stephen Sondheim; major festivals of the arts of Latin America, China, the Nordic countries, Japan, India and the 22 countries in the Arab World; long-term relationships with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet and Opera, New York City Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; festivals of gospel music, country music, a cappella music and street arts; a celebration of August Wilson’s ten plays presented in sequential order; as well as a major revival productions of Ragtime and Follies both of which transferred to Broadway and were each nominated for seven Tony awards. Mr. Kaiser also worked closely with the National Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director Christoph Eschenbach and its Board of Directors on the Orchestra’s performances and outreach programs as well as with the Washington National Opera’s leadership on the Opera’s performance and educational programs.

In February 2009, in response to the economic recession, he created Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative, a program which provided free arts management consulting to non-profit performing arts organizations around the United States. Mr. Kaiser embarked on a national tour for the Arts in Crisis initiative, leading arts management symposia in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

In October 2009, Mr. Kaiser launched Any Given Child, an initiative that works with school systems, local governments, and arts organizations to create localized, collaborative arts education programs for students grades K-8 with the goal of ensuring that all young people in the community have access to a comprehensive, affordable arts education. Any Given Child is now installed in 15 American cities and serves over 1 million children annually.

Under Mr. Kaiser’s leadership, the Kennedy Center’s annual operating fundraising from private sources increased from $23 million to $82 million. Mr. Kaiser also raised the first $125 million for a capital expansion before his retirement. The Kennedy Center earned an operating surplus in each fiscal year of Mr. Kaiser’s tenure. Upon his departure, the Board of Director of the Center named Mr. Kaiser, President Emeritus.

Prior to joining the Kennedy Center, Mr. Kaiser was responsible for turning around four troubled arts institutions.

Mr. Kaiser served as the Executive Director of the Royal Opera House (Royal Opera and Royal Ballet), the largest performing arts organization in the United Kingdom. During his tenure with the Royal Opera House, that organization built the largest arts education program in Europe, re-opened it facility after a major renovation, and presented an impressive roster of singers an dancers including Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel, Juan Diego Florez, Susan Graham, Darcy Bussell, Carlos Acosta, and Angel Corella. Mr. Kaiser engaged Antonio Pappano to become the new Music Director of the Royal Opera and erased its historic accumulated deficit of $20 million, completed a $250 million redevelopment of the facility, created an endowment fund, and greatly increased its level of support from the private and public sectors.

Prior to joining the Royal Opera House, Mr. Kaiser was Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre. During his three-year tenure at ABT, Mr. Kaiser erased the entire historic accumulated deficit, created a second company, greatly expanded national and international touring activity, substantially increased both contributed and earned income, and built an acclaimed series of education programs.

Mr. Kaiser has also served as Executive Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation, the world's largest modern dance organization. During his tenure, the Ailey Company expanded its school, commissioned works by Anna Deavere Smith, Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, Donald Byrd and Jawole Zollar, erased its accumulated deficit and increased all forms of revenue. Prior to joining the Ailey company, he was Associate Director of the Pierpont Morgan Library where he completed the purchase of property next door and initiated a major expansion.

He has also served as General Manager of the Kansas City Ballet, where he also erased the company's deficit and built a second home in St. Louis.

As an arts management consultant, Mr. Kaiser has advised The Ohio State University, Yale University, Oxford University, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cooper Union, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Idyllwild Arts Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Great Lakes Center for the Arts, Teatro Pregones, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, The Grand Rapids Symphony, the Market Theatre (Johannesburg), New 42nd Street and many others. He has delivered in-depth capacity building programs to twenty American cities and also in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Trinidad, Vietnam and Croatia. Mr. Kaiser also represented the United States on a commission that established the Arts Council of the Republic of South Africa following the inauguration of Nelson Mandela.

Before entering the arts management field, Mr. Kaiser was a management consultant in the corporate sector. In 1985, he sold the consulting firm he founded, Kaiser Associates, which specializes in helping large corporations formulate strategic plans. Among his clients were General Motors, IBM, Corning Glass Works and 50 other major corporations. Kaiser Associates remains a major participant in the strategy consulting field.

Mr. Kaiser has served as a research economist for Nobel Prize-winning economist, Wassily Leontief, and is the author of eight books: Curtains?: The Future of the Arts in America (2015), The Cycle (2013), Conversation Starters: Arts Management Topics for Today (2011); Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask (2010); The Art of the Turnaround (2008); Strategic Planning in the Arts: A Practical Guide (1995, revised 2017); Developing Industry Strategies: A Practical Guide of Industry Analysis (1983); and Understanding the Competition: A Practical Guide of Competitive Analysis (1981).

Mr. Kaiser received his Master's degree in management from M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management and his Bachelor's degree in economics, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Arts Administration at New York University, and a Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He is currently a Professor of the Practice at University of Maryland and a Professor at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

He received the Dance Magazine Award in 2001, Capezio Award in 2002, Helen Hayes Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theater Community in 2003, the St. Petersburg 300 Medal in 2004, Washingtonian of the Year in 2004, a U.S. Department of State Citation in 2005, the Blacks in Dance Award in 2005, and was the first American to receive China’s “Award for Cultural Exchange” in 2005. He was awarded The Order of the Mexican Eagle in 2006 and was named Impresario of the Year in 2006 by Musical America. In 2009, Mr. Kaiser received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America and the Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Award from the Arab American Institute Foundation. In March 2011, Georgetown University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. In 2015, the University of Missouri-Kansas City conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa.

Contact Mr. Kaiser through almartin (at) devosinstitute.net.

Brett Egan


Brett Egan provides planning and training services for arts and culture organizations in the United States and around the world. He specializes in strategic planning; succession planning; capital campaigns; annual fundraising; fundraising campaigns; community- based practice; human resource development; board development; and institutional and programmatic marketing.

Recent representative clients include the Apollo Theater (New York City); Sundance Institute (Los Angeles and Park City); National Public Radio Foundation (Washington, D.C.); Doha Center for Creative Industry (Doha, Qatar); American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA); The National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.); The September 11 National Memorial and Museum (New York City); Motown Museum (Detroit, MI); Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (San Jose, CA); KERA (PBS/NPR North Texas; Dallas); Outfest (Los Angeles); International Center for Photography (NYC); Women in Film (Los Angeles); Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; the Longhouse at Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA); Hi-Arts/Hip Hop Theater Festival (NYC); Arts for LA (Los Angeles, CA); Cornerstone Theater (Los Angeles, CA); Center for Asian American Media (San Francisco, CA); Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA); Memphis Symphony Orchestra (Memphis, TN); National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, GA); and From the Top (Boston, MA).

As needed, he partners with clients to provide interim leadership while permanent leadership is sought. For instance, in 2011 and 2012, Mr. Egan served as Interim CEO of the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), working with local leadership to open this first-of- its-kind institution on the Arabian Peninsula. Mr. Egan led the organization through a successful first season with performances by Renée Fleming and Andrea Bocelli; the Mariinsky Ballet, La Scala Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre; the Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and four operas including Franco Zeffirelli's Metropolitan Opera production of Turandot and the world premiere of a new Carmen commissioned and produced by the Royal Opera House. The inaugural season attracted a diverse audience of Omanis and expatriates with average attendance at 92 percent of seating capacity. In 2013, Mr. Egan again supported the Opera House in its development of the first library of musical arts and education on the Arabian Peninsula. Mr. Egan’s tenure ended with a successful transition of responsibility to the institution’s first permanent CEO.

From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Egan served as Executive Director of the New York-based modern dance company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, which toured an average of two dozen cities worldwide each year, was a Kennedy Center resident company, and was a principal contributor to the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. Prior to 2006, Mr. Egan worked with a variety of cultural organizations including Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the Annie Leibowitz Studio, and Santa Fe Opera.

Mr. Egan is the co-author, with Michael M. Kaiser, of The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations (2013).

Mr. Egan is a frequent guest at national and international conferences, speaking on a range of topics from audience engagement and fundraising to the role and impact of new media in arts management today. He regularly facilitates discussions amongst diverse stakeholders on behalf of regional and national foundations to identify common interest and deliver strategic direction, often at the intersection of cultural practice and broader civic concerns.

Mr. Egan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in Cultural and Performance Theory, received the Antarctic Service Medal and a Princess Grace Fellowship (Monaco), and wrote a travel guide on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He is a trained actor and theater director and, throughout his upbringing in Long Beach, California, studied classical piano theory and performance.

He and his wife, Joan, and daughters, Bell, Lark, and River, live in Asheville, North Carolina.

Contact Mr. Egan through rekupfer (at) devosinstitute.net.

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