Crawford leaves as the center prepares the first phase of its long-discussed redevelopment project. Construction begins next year on the renovation of the entraces to buildings along 65th Street, which runs through the center.
The appointment of Crawford, former president and general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, was seen by many as a move to end conflict over the redevelopment plan; the Met, the most powerful of Lincoln Center's 12 constituent organizations, had opposed some of its aspects. Controversy has since quieted, but the plan, once priced at over $1 billion, has also been scaled back dramatically.
Perhaps the most difficult moment of Crawford's term was the announcement in 2003 that the New York Philharmonic, dissatisfied with its home at Avery Fisher Hall, would leave Lincoln Center and move to Carnegie Hall. The Philharmonic's agreement with Carnegie Hall later collapsed, and the orchestra and Lincoln Center have since agreed on a plan to renovate Avery Fisher.
Crawford's tenure also included the expansion of Lincoln Center's board and the opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, located in Columbus Circle several blocks from the main campus.
In a statement, Crawford said, "It has been an honor to serve as chairman of this extraordinary global cultural treasure for the past three years. When I depart in June, it is with the knowledge that the next generation of visitors to Lincoln Center will be able to enjoy the finest in artistic programming within a transformed campus supported by the city and all 12 resident organizations, as well as funded by generous donors."
Lincoln Center's nominating committee, chaired by board vice-chair Frank Bennack, will nominate a new chairman in the new few months, the center said. Bennack himself was said to be a candidate for the position three years ago, but he reportedly declined to be considered at that time.