For immediate release
March 7, 2002
NPR: Jessamyn Sarmiento
AFI: AFI Rachel Peller Heffron,

Murray Horwitz Named Director And Chief Operating Officer of AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center
Horwitz to continue at NPR as cultural commentator

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that Murray Horwitz has been named director and chief operating officer of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, effective July 1, 2002. The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is the anchor for the city-wide redevelopment effort in Silver Spring, Maryland; the three-screen complex, currently under construction, will open in the spring of 2003.

In this new position, Horwitz will oversee all the AFI Silver's programs, operations and outreach activities-including festivals, screening series, premieres, special events and a wide range of educational programs. AFI Silver Director Ray Barry, who has worked closely with Montgomery County in the renewal of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, will continue to manage and develop the theatre's operations.

"Murray Horwitz comes to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center with a remarkable and varied body of work," stated Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI's director and CEO. "Whether he's co-authoring an award-winning Broadway musical, working on a Peabody-award-winning radio series or writing for film and television, Horwitz has consistently demonstrated a keen ability to produce quality arts programs that reach an audience. These same qualities will prove invaluable in the shepherding of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, which is dedicated to artists, educators, and audiences of the world."

NPR also announced today that Horwitz-currently vice president for cultural programming at NPR-will remain with the network on a part-time basis as senior cultural commentator, and will continue to contribute occasional on-air pieces to NPR's news and cultural programming.

"Murray Horwitz is an American cultural treasure-multi-talented, funny, wise and totally entertaining in his encyclopedic knowledge of culture," said Kevin Klose, NPR president. "He will be a superb leader for AFI in its trail-blazing commitment to bring the best of film, video and new media to audiences here and around the nation. We are delighted that our longtime cultural leader-who happens to be one of public radio's great storytellers-will be on NPR's air for us all."

"It's hard to put into words how excited I am by this new opportunity," Horwitz said. "To get a chance to demonstrate the essential role of culture in community development is a rare opportunity. Montgomery County's commitment, led by County Executive Douglas Duncan, is a model of how the arts and public service go hand-in-hand. Ray Barry and I will bring audiences from all parts of the District, Maryland and Virginia to Silver Spring-not only to show them movies, but also to demonstrate the deep and lasting effect the art of the moving image has had on people and cultures everywhere. It's immensely gratifying to be able to take on this task under the auspices of a signal national institution-AFI-and to be able to continue the on-air association with another one-my beloved NPR."

Horwitz has had an extraordinary career in the performing arts, beginning with three years as a clown in the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. A graduate of Kenyon College, Horwitz is the originator and co-author of Ain't Misbehavin', one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. In addition to Tony, Grammy and New York Drama Critics Circle awards for that show, Horwitz has received two Peabody Awards for his work at NPR-one for the series Making the Music (a collaboration with trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis) and the other for The NPR 100, which highlighted the 100 most significant American musical works of the 20th century. Horwitz has written for the motion picture community, directed network television programs and acted on the stage, screen and television. He wrote song lyrics for John Harbison's opera, The Great Gatsby, which is returning to the Metropolitan Opera next month.

Created by the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is dedicated to artists, educators and the audiences of the world. The mission of the AFI Silver is to present the richness of American and world cinema, to explore all forms of the moving image in the digital era, and to understand the screen itself as a source of literacy, learning and vision for the future. AFI is the preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI presents the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival and the AFI National Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. More information about AFI can be found at

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