Iris Nemani
Iris Nemani | Credit: Dahlia Katz

Stanford Live, Stanford University’s main performing arts presenter, has announced the appointment of Iris Nemani as the organization’s next executive director. She will report to Deborah Cullinan, Stanford’s vice president for the arts, who is currently acting director of Stanford Live.

Chris Lorway, who served as the previous director for seven years, stepped down from the position almost a year ago, when he was named president and CEO of Banff Centre. Both he and the Israeli-born Nemani are Canadian citizens.

Nemani, 56, is currently chief programming officer at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre; she will join Stanford Live in April 2024.

At Harbourfront Centre, where she has worked for the past eight years, Nemani oversees performing arts, visual arts, craft and design, music, festivals, production, and education. During her time there, she has introduced several initiatives, including an international contemporary dance series and an international children’s festival.

The Toronto organization’s operating budget is around $30 million, heavily dependent on government support. The now-closed job announcement for director of Stanford Live said the organization’s “balanced [annual] operating budget is approximately $13 million” — which is 0.15 percent of the university’s $8.9 billion budget. Stanford’s endowment for the fiscal year is $36.5 billion.

Nemani’s previous positions have included general manager of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto and company manager for Live Entertainment Corporation of Canada’s productions of Ragtime, Showboat, and The Phantom of the Opera.

Nemani responded to the announcement by saying she is “delighted to join the Stanford Live team to bring innovative, artistic experiences to Stanford and the surrounding Bay Area communities.

“I share the belief that art fundamentally enriches human experience, and I want to express my gratitude to the search committee for this incredible opportunity.

“I look forward to exploring the opportunities that the Stanford academic environment might afford artists, inviting them into this learning environment, and working with Stanford’s community of students, faculty, staff, and Stanford Live’s advisory council.”