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Champion of the arts

In his 12 years at the Barbican, John Tusa has transformed what was an ailing institution into one of the world's best centres for high culture. The ingredients of its success, he tells Stephen Everson, have been hands-off funding, eclectic programming and an unflinching commitment to artistic quality

By Stephen Everson   August 2007

This July, Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope festival opened at the Barbican centre. Among many notable events, it includes the British premieres of operas by John Adams and the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Mark Morris’s Mozart Dances, and string quartets by Henryk Górecki and Terry Riley. It is, in other words, a serious programme of contemporary work across the art forms, and provides another reminder of just how ambitious and confident the Barbican has become. Before the festival concludes in mid-August, John Tusa, the centre’s managing director, will have departed. He leaves the place in good shape. Last September, a…

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