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Murray Horowitz

Murray Horwitz was appointed the Director and COO of the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in July 1, 2002. Prior to this appointment, Horwitz was Vice President of Cultural Programming for National Public Radio for four years and before that, NPR’s Director of Jazz, Classical Music, and Entertainment Programming. He still appears as a commentator on NPR, where he won the National Medal of Arts and three Peabody Awards: as co-writer with Wynton Marsalis of the series, Wynton Marsalis: Making The Music, and as the conceiver and executive producer of the series The NPR 100 and NPR’s Jazz Profiles. He brings an illustrious arts background to his position at the AFI Silver Theatre.

Horwitz's accomplishments in the performing arts include originating and co-writing Ain't Misbehavin', the hit Broadway musical based on the music of Fats Waller, which won Tony, Obie, Emmy, Grammy, and New York Drama Critics' Circle awards. His other Broadway and off-off-Broadway theatrical credits include co-writing and directing Haarlem Nocturne and Sole Sisters. In 1997, he wrote and staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the Presidents’ Summit for the Future of America, in Philadelphia. Also in 1997, he received a Governor’s Arts Award in playwriting from the State of Maryland. Currently, he may be heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and as a panelist on the same network’s word game show, Says You!

Horwitz began his career as a clown with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he performed for three years. He has appeared at The Kennedy Center, The Manhattan Theatre Club, and The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater in the one-man show, An Evening of Sholom Aleichem.

Horwitz has directed and written the scripts for many prominent events, including several at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the White House. His written works also include television, film, and theater projects for many studios and networks, including HBO, PBS, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Pictures. He was associate producer of Jazz Comes Home to Newport for PBS and produced the acclaimed series of CBS television spots, The Lost, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. For ten years, beginning in 1989, he directed the annual National Heritage Fellowship Concerts.

In 1991 he received a Gold award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the jazz documentary, Louis Armstrong: The First 90 Years, which he produced for NPR. Also a songwriter, Horwitz has won twenty ASCAP songwriting awards, and wrote the popular song lyrics for John Harbison’s opera, The Great Gatsby.

Prior to his work at NPR, Horwitz was acting director of the National Endowment for the Arts Opera-Musical Theater Program. He has also served as deputy press secretary for the New York State Assembly Speaker's office.

Horwitz is a trustee of Kenyon College, and a board member of Young Playwrights Inc., Yiddish of Greater Washington, and the Writers Center, as well as the Advisory Board of the International Association of Jazz Educators. In 2000, he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France.

Horwitz is a native of Dayton, Ohio, and lives near Washington, DC, with his wife, mezzo-soprano Lisa Miller, and their three children, Charles Wolf, Ann Minna, and Alexander Thomas. A graduate of Ohio's Kenyon College with a bachelor of arts degree in English and drama, Horwitz received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from his alma mater in 1992.


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