Meet our team
Executive Artistic Director
Bill Bragin, a leading figure in music and arts programming, is the first executive artistic director of The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi. Called “one of the most influential figures in the New York live-music business” by The New York Times, Bragin brings extensive experience, creativity, and his own unique multidisciplinary vision to the role.
Most recently, as the director of public programming of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, he attracted hundreds of thousands of audience members to the popular Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals, events devoted to increasing public participation in the arts, and commissioned and premiered numerous new works in a variety of disciplines. He also helped set the artistic vision for the free weekly programs at the David Rubenstein Atrium, which opened during his tenure.
Bragin is also a co-founding co-director of the not-for-profit world music festival and service organization globalFEST and a former member of the board of trustees of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). Previous activities include serving as Director of Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Curator of Music Programs at Symphony Space, General Manager of the NYNO record label, and Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Central Park SummerStage. Bragin was music advisor for the TED Conferences, and has served as a jury member, advisor, or speaker for acclaimed conferences and organizations including WOMEX (Worldwide Music Expo), South by Southwest (SXSW), Cape Verde’s Atlantic Music Expo, National Endowment for the Arts, Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS) and Brazil’s Porto Musical, among many others. As “Acidophilus,” he has djed internationally as part of GlobeSonic Sound System.
Head of Production
Chris Pye is a seasoned production manager, master electrician and lighting designer with a varied experience of touring, production and corporate work. Before joining the Arts Center, Pye was Deputy Head of Lighting at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman since 2010. Prior to emigrating, he gained a wide experience in all aspects of the performing arts from working in notable international arts venues such as; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The National Theatre, London and the Mick Jagger Centre for Performing Arts. He is also an experienced programmer of lighting and AV in family entertainment centres. Examples within the UAE include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the Yas Island Water Park.
Director of Business Operations
Christian Lear joined the Arts Center in October 2015 as the Director of Business Operations for the Arts Center. After being with the university for the last 4 years, playing a key role in the development of new services, technology and business applications for the Saadiyat Campus. Chris has taken on the new challenge of working at the Art Center operating the back office, ticketing, website and other business services. Chris has spent the last 20 year working in a mix of operations, education and technology and is looking forward to bring his experience and lead the development ‘best in class’ of operational services and business processes so that we can meet the mission, objectives and goals of the Arts Center.
Mohannad Al Bakri
Director of External Relations and Partnerships
Mohannad joined the Arts Center as Director of External Relations and Partnerships to help bring together the communities of NYUAD, Abu Dhabi, and the region through shared artistic journeys. Working on several community engagement activities that will contribute to building the cultural, artistic and capacity building.
Previously, Al Bakri led Luminus Media-Jordan as Regional Managing Director bringing to the organization new creative process thorough establishing SAE institute in the Arab region. He also made many partnerships possible through the media programs that were established in KSA, Libya and Iraq.
His previous position at the Royal Film Commission- Jordan (RFC), Al Bakri worked on developing the Film industry and the Capacity Building Programs in Jordan overseeing their strategic planning and implementation and supervising the national, regional and international partnerships. Among those programs, the Jordanian filmmakers hub, the Film House; Rawi Screenwriters’ Lab, a regional screenwriters program run in partnership with Sundance Institute; the Educational Feature Film Program in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC) and various regional and international organizations and professionals; the Filmmakers Support Program and the extension of the Film House activities outside capital Amman through the Film Clubs programs. Furthermore, he was co-founder and Pedagogical Team Member of Med Film Factory, a semi-professional regional training program for Arab Producers and Director.
Alana Barraj has been working at NYU Abu Dhabi since it’s administrative inception in 2008, writing policy and building several office units from the ground up. A classically trained singer and an active member of the local arts and music scene in Abu Dhabi, Barraj joined the Arts Center as the current Chairperson of the longest-standing community music group in the UAE, Abu Dhabi Choral Group (ADCG). With ADCG, she served as Producer for five of their most commercially successful productions to date. She is proud graduate of NYU in New York, earning her degree in Communication Studies with two sets of honors.
Linsey Bostwick has recently joined the staff of the Arts Center after many years producing works in New York City and internationally. Most recently, she has worked on the producing team of Pomegranate Arts with artists such as Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Lucinda Childs, Robert Wilson and Taylor Mac. She is a long time creative/producing collaborator with Big Art Group and has worked with Cynthia Hopkins, Susan Marshall, Nina Winthrop among others artists. Bostwick has been published in the Yale Theatre Journal and the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media among others. Bostwick holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Washington in Theatre and a Master of Fine Arts from Brooklyn College in Interactive Performance and Media Arts.
Leila Debbazi joined NYU Abu Dhabi in November 2012, leading the administration for the Arts faculty under the Arts & Humanities department. She worked extensively with program heads in Film & New Media, Art & Art History, Music and Theater. In April 2015 she transitioned to The Arts Center to support the Executive Artistic Director, and was heavily involved in the preparation and launch of The Arts Center. She leads the administration for all Arts Center activities and operations, and provides support to all team members and events. She graduated from the University of Westminster with an honors degree in Arabic & International Relations.