After an international search, senior arts leader Iris Nemani has been appointed the McMurtry Family Director of Stanford Live, the university’s chief presenter of performing arts on campus. She will join the Stanford Live team on April 1, 2024.

Iris Nemani (Image credit: Dahlia Katz)

Nemani is a seasoned, creative, interdisciplinary arts leader with more than 30 years of progressive experience in arts and culture. As a senior arts administrator and curator, she has provided visionary leadership and artistic and strategic direction for various arts institutions, most recently as chief programming officer at Harbourfront Centre, an international center for contemporary arts, culture, and ideas on Toronto’s central waterfront.

Nemani will oversee programming in Stanford’s arts district, including at the Bing Concert Hall and Frost Amphitheater. In addition to joining the senior arts leadership team under Deborah Cullinan, Stanford’s vice president for the arts and acting director of Stanford Live, Nemani will have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in the Department of Music and beyond.

“Iris is going to bring a remarkable breadth of experience and creative thinking to Stanford Live that will serve our audiences in so many ways,” said Cullinan. “Her understanding of how arts organizations can be the center of community life makes her a perfect fit for Stanford Live and the university.”

“I am delighted to join the Stanford Live team to bring innovative, artistic experiences to Stanford and the surrounding Bay Area communities. 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,” said Nemani of her new role at Stanford.

As chief programming officer at Harbourfront Centre, Nemani oversees performing arts, visual arts, craft and design, music, festivals, production, and education. During her time there, she introduced several initiatives, including an international contemporary dance series and an international children’s festival. Prior to her tenure at Harbourfront, Nemani produced the arts and culture program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as managing director of PANAMANIA. Her career has spanned both not-for-profit and commercial endeavors, including as director of operations for Dancap Productions (Jersey Boys, Avenue Q, Toxic Avenger), general manager of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, and company manager for Live Entertainment Corporation of Canada’s productions of Ragtime (Los Angeles and Vancouver), Showboat (Toronto and National Tour), and Phantom of the Opera (Toronto).

Nemani began her academic journey studying sciences at the University of Toronto and then onto Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), earning a bachelor of applied arts in interior design in 1992. She has guest lectured at Toronto Metropolitan University in theater producing.

“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,” said Nemani. “I am excited to work with my colleagues to create a strong cultural precinct on campus that enriches both the students on site and the surrounding communities that it serves.”

Media Contacts

Amanda Wah, Stanford Live: (310) 528-4166,

Robin Wander, University Communications: (650) 724-6184,