Arts Management 2008-2009 Fellows
Mohammed Abdallah (Egypt, Program Coordinator at Culture Resource)
Mohammed Abdallah has recently joined Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), a leading contemporary arts organization based in Cairo Egypt. Prior to that he was Programme Manager at Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), an Arab nonprofit organization that supports artistic creativity in the Arab world and an artistic consultant during the curatorial process of the Kennedy Center's 2009 ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World festival. Mohammed co-programmed a variety of music and cultural events including Spring Festival 2008, and later on he became festival manager for Spring Festival's 2010 edition in Cairo, Alexandria and Beirut. In 2007, he helped establish an Egyptian branch of JICPB Cube Gallery, an international visual arts exchange project. Mohammed served in his capacity as a Kennedy Center fellow as a mentor in the Arts in Crisis initiative. He currently lives and works in Cairo.
Derek DeVelder (United States, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra)
Derek DeVelder is a double bassist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra where he has served on the NMSO Board of Directors as well as the Development, Education, Musicians’ Negotiations and Orchestra Committees. He has been an active participant with the Andrew Mellon Foundation Forum and Committee in grant writing, resource allocation, and the creation of community focus groups and outreach. Derek also serves on the faculty with the MasterWorks Performing Arts Festival. He received his Bachelors in Music Composition from Arizona State University, studied double bass at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria and received his Master in Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory.
Rui Catarino (Portugal, General Manager São Luiz Municipal Theatre)
After completing the Kennedy Center Fellowship, and after returning for a year to his previous position as Managing Director of the São Luiz Municipal Theatre in Lisbon, Portugal, Rui Catarino became part of the Executive Board of OPART, the organization that manages the National Opera (São Carlos National Theatre), the National Ballet and the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra. Previously, Rui served as an aide to the deputy mayor for Culture of Lisbon's City Council, where he contributed to the design of cultural policies targeting the development of Lisbon's performing arts sector. He has worked in the performing arts for 18 years, having started as an amateur actor before moving on to production and management responsibilities with universities and independent companies, and then with municipal and national organizations. He holds a degree in economics and a post-graduate diploma in cultural management. He has been a lecturer in arts management at undergraduate and professional programs in several schools since 2006.
Cathy Hirschmann (Scotland, Administrative Producer for Visible Fictions)
Cathy Hirschmann is now General Manager at Artichoke in London, U.K., a company that works with artists to create extraordinary large-scale events for public spaces. Cathy came to the Kennedy Center from Scotland, where she was the Administrative Producer for Visible Fictions, a theatre company for children and young people. Her role at Visible Fictions included strategic and financial planning and building artistic and financial opportunities. She was integral to a significant period of growth that saw the company expand its international touring, establish an integrated education department, and embed a broader range of income sources to sustain the company’s artistic vision. Prior to this role, Cathy was Professional Development Manager at Arts and Business Scotland, where she ran programs to support organizational and board development at arts organizations and museums. Cathy’s interest in the arts began when she started playing the clarinet at age six, and she holds a degree in music from the University of Edinburgh.
Jeanne LeSage (Canada, Managing Producer, Abu Dhabi Film Festival)
Jeanne LeSage is currently the Managing Producer for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Jeanne came to the Fellowship after 10 years at the Toronto International Festival, where she was Director of Human Resources. She holds a Drama and English degree from University of Toronto. Prior to her shift to Human Resources, Jeanne was a freelance stage manager and producer in theatre, dance and opera. She worked across Canada with performing arts organizations such as the Banff Centre for the Arts, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Vancouver Playhouse, the Grand Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick and many others. She is Board President for Toronto's Volcano Theatre, an internationally renowned and award winning experimental theatre group.
Haonan Li (China, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)
Originally from China, Haonan Li moved to the United States after completing his undergraduate degree. Haonan received a B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Tongji University in Shanghai, and went on to receive a Masters Degree in Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon, Haonan gained practical experience through jobs with Steiner Studio (New York City) and Sony Pictures (Los Angeles). After completing Graduate School, Haonan came to work in the Development Department of the Kennedy Center. His responsibilities included Major Gifts prospecting, assisting with the Major Gifts Campaign, fundraising for the Arab Arts Festival and an upcoming NSO Asia Tour with the National Symphony Orchestra. Before he came to U.S., Haonan had been involved in many aspects of the administration of performing arts organizations in both Shanghai and Beijing, working with a significant number of artists and companies from around the globe.
Maria L. Solano (United States, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Artes de la Rosa)
Maria Solano comes to the Kennedy Center from Fort Worth, Texas where she served as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Artes de la Rosa at the Rose Marine Theater. Maria holds a Bachelors Degree from Oklahoma City University, where she double majored in Theater and Mass Communications with emphasis in Advertising and Broadcasting. Maria received her Masters of Arts in Theater from Oklahoma City University. During her career at Rose Marine Theatre, Ms. Solano worked on a national campaign with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Aside from her administrative background, Ms. Solano is also an adjunct Theater Professor and a working stage actress.
Joel Solari (United States, Operations Associate, Tribeca Performing Arts Center)
Joel Solari joins the Kennedy Center from New York where he recently worked at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Joel obtained his BA in Theatre and Art & Design from Missouri State University and graduated with a MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute in New York. As the Operations Associate for the largest theatre in Lower Manhattan, Joel was responsible for developing and maintaining business relationships with rental clients which included major media and business corporations, musicians, social and cultural groups, the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as theatre and dance companies from Asia, Russia, Europe, and throughout the USA. Prior to that, he worked as a Contract Associate at Actors Equity Association in the Broadway Production/National Touring department. Joel interned for the Roundabout Theatre Company, the National Corporate Theatre Fund, and at Stuart Thompson Productions where he was the general management intern for the Broadway productions of Doubt, On Golden Pond, Julius Caesar, and August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean.
Teneese K. Thomas (United States, Production Manager, Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum)
Teneese K. Thomas comes to the Kennedy Center from Jacksonville, Florida, where she served as the Production Manager of the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum. Teneese holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Studies from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. For the past six years, she worked directly with the Executive Director in season planning and logistical coordination of the Ritz’s music and theatre programming, bringing a variety of classic and contemporary performances to the Jacksonville Community such as Raisin’ Cane, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, Sophisticated Ladies, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and others. She directed and produced the Ritz’s popular monthly variety show Amateur Night at the Ritz. Her most recent directing credits at the Ritz include Flyin’ West and August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. She also teaches acting and theatre in the Jacksonville community, and is regularly sought as an acting and vocal coach. A singer at heart, Teneese has been a featured vocalist for numerous events throughout her home town.
Marek Vrabec (Czech Republic, Founder, Strings of Autumn International Music Festival)
Marek Vrabec founded the Strings of Autumn International Music Festival in 1996. Attracting performers of the stature of the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Dessay, Ute Lemper, Ian Bostridge, Brad Mehldau, Michael Nyman, and Gary Burton (many of whom were performing in the Czech Republic for the first time), the festival has established itself as one of the most eclectic and acclaimed in Prague. In addition to the Strings, Marek runs the arts agency Impresario, which, in its thirteen year history, has arranged more than 600 concerts throughout Europe and in Israel. In 2000, Marek was given the MIDEM Classical Award for producing the first ever recording of Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao from 1723 (a work by the Czech baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka). Marek also worked on the Extended Duration in Music Festival (put on in 1996 in cooperation with then president Vaclav Havel and showcasing works by John Cage and Morton Feldman), and organized the first Czech concert appearance of Bobby McFerrin in 2008.