Stephen Seifert, executive director of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver.

(Courtesy of University of Denver)

Stephen Seifert, executive director of the University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts will step down at the end of the 2015-2016 season, the university announced on Thursday.

Seifert has been with the Newman Center since 2002, and prior to that, was the executive director of Opera Colorado for four years. He says this is truly a retirement.

“I’m not looking for another gig at the moment and am looking to enjoy the arts from the other side of the stage,” Seifert said. “I also think it’s opportune and healthy for artistic organizations to have new blood and new ideas come in periodically.”

In 2003, Seifert spearheaded the launch of “Newman Center Presents,” a performing arts series that brings artists of varying disciplines from around the world to Denver. Seifert says a key mission of the series was to expose audiences to new and experimental work.

“When we first created the program, we looked around the cultural community and asked ourselves: ‘What is already being done very well here?’ [...] 'What can we offer that would add to the vitality of the cultural ecology in Denver?’” he says.

Since its inception, the series has presented 224 performances by 194 artists, including the famous violinist Joshua Bell, New York’s Martha Graham Dance Company, Yale University's a cappella group The Whiffenpoofs and bluegrass star Béla Fleck.

Seifert stays in his post through June 2016, and is programming the 2016-2017 “Newman Center Presents” season. DU’s provost and executive vice chancellor, Gregg Kvistad, will appoint a committee to assist in the selection of Seifert’s successor.

“It’s been a real joy for me to be around such an amazing group of creative people, the Denver community and the artists from around the world we bring in,” Seifert said.

After retiring, Seifert says he’ll continue to serve on the board of the Denver Foundation, as well as focus on other projects.