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Long Center hiring director from Canada

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jamie Grant, the general manager of a performing arts center in Kitchener, Ontario, has been hired as the new executive director of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, center officials will announce today.

Grant, 50, will replace Cliff Redd, who left a year ago after six years on the job.

Grant will assume his new post Sept. 13. He has been with the Centre in the Square in Kitchener for 13 years.

"The board of trustees of the Long Center is extremely impressed with Jamie's credentials and knowledge of performing arts centers. He is the right combination of strategic thinker, operational expert and community builder," said Craig Hester, chair of the Long Center board.

Grant, a Canadian citizen, said the position at the Long Center appealed to him in several ways.

"The building is fabulous, and I knew of it during its (construction) because of its reuse of the original" Palmer Auditorium, he said. "Austin is one of the most exciting and desirable places in America to live, work and play."

Grant said he planned to deepen the collaboration between the Long Center and its founding companies: Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Austin.

"The unique collaboration with the (Long Center's) founding resident companies is worth an important investment of time," he said.

The Long Center opened in 2008. It has a $6 million annual budget and is the primary performance venue for the symphony, opera and ballet.

Center officials would not disclose Grant's salary. Publicly available federal tax records from 2009 list Redd's salary as $177,000.

Paul Beutel, who has been serving as the Long Center's interim director, will resume his normal duties as the center's managing director.

Grant's experience also includes management positions with Imperial Theatre in St. John, New Brunswick; Heritage and Pearson theaters in Brampton, Ontario; Skylight Theatre in Toronto; and Arbor Theatre in Peterborough, Ontario.

He is also a founding member of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, an annual contemporary theater showcase, and served as chairman of the board.

The Centre in the Square is a municipally owned 2,000-seat venue that is home to the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and also presents traveling theater, music, dance and other entertainments. It also houses a public art gallery.

jvanryzin@statesman.com; 445-3699