2015-16 Season | A Few Words from our Executive Director

Thor directed opera and theater at venues worldwide. He joins the VPAC staff following posts as Senior Vice President at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and as the Music Center's Vice President responsible for the opening of downtown LA's Grand Park.

Thor SteingraberThe 2015-16 Season includes an unprecedented number of Los Angeles-based artists and ensembles. This reflects not only the two decades I’ve spent building relationships and gaining deep familiarity with our hometown talent, it also represents my commitment to a performing arts center that is integral to its community. I’ve never understood why cities stand so passionately behind their sports teams, while the arts often look so far afield. I aim to strike a balance.

Even when the artists themselves aren’t from Los Angeles, I’m constantly looking for themes that are interesting to Angelinos. The Fab Faux is presenting an original concert based on the Beatles 3 appearances in Los Angeles in 1964, ‘65 and ‘66. Peter Nero will undertake a fresh look at the career of George Gershwin in Hollywood. The young composer/songwriter’s life ended here, just as he was beginning his Hollywood tenure, yet dozens of films feature his music, a posthumous tribute to his talent and potential.

CSUN is a fertile environment to cultivate our vision for VPAC’s programming. The vibrant intellectual community at the University adds many layers to our season and to those who support us. There’s nothing more rewarding than hosting a group of CSUN faculty or staff, meeting CSUN alumni in the VPAC lobby returning to the campus for the first time, or to watch a CSUN student enjoy the transformational experience of a live performance.

I hope we’ll have hundreds of students in house for VPAC’s 5th Anniversary in January 2016. The perennial favorite Bobby McFerrin will headline the evening, making his VPAC debut. I’ve also invited his uber-talented son, Taylor, to join us as well. The younger McFerrin possesses all of his father’s exuberance and musical free spirit, but in an entirely different medium. My goal is to celebrate our Anniversary with multiple generations in the audience as well as onstage.

As much as I enjoy going on an on about art and ideas and performances, but in reality, most of my day is spent tending to VPAC’s business – finances, facilities, services, and more. I’m proud to announce that in the coming months, the VPAC team will be rolling out a number of improvements to your VPAC experience. We’re investing in upgrades to our sound system, and after a national search, we’ve also hired a new Sound Supervisor who brings to VPAC a wealth of experience. We’ve consolidated all of our box office services into one location, adding a third window to the courtyard location. After you’re finished at the box office, I hope you’ll enjoy a few minutes soaking in the magical evening ambiance in the courtyard, with added places to sit and eat, and increased concessions services. The courtyard will remain open at intermission, too, to reduce the lines for concessions in the lobby.

If you’re enjoying a performance in the Orchestra or Parterre, you may now bring a beverage into the concert! I can’t tell you how many people have requested this option. So we’ve introduced our VPAC drink tumblers, with a special lid designed to keep spills to a minimum. Why no drinks in the upper levels? Well, one step at a time -- we don’t have drink holders in the balconies, and we don’t want to risk a misplaced drink that spills or falls onto patrons below.

If you have additional ideas about how we can transform VPAC’s services, please let us know. We’ve been listening and acting as quickly as possible. Not that every idea is possible, and sometimes one good idea runs directly counter to another good idea. But we’re doing our best to balance your needs and interests and to continually improve the VPAC experience.


Thor Steingraber
Executive Director