Westminster Choir College, the storied institution from which Spoleto Festival USA’s Westminster Choir comes, will remain in Princeton, N.J., after sometimes contentious debate over its fiscal well-being and fate.
Its parent school, Rider University, is selling the choir college to Kaiwen Education, a private school operator based in Beijing, China. Rider will operate the choir college through June 2019, then relinquish control to Kaiwen, according to a press release.
Larry Livingston, who has been involved as a project manager during the last many months of negotiations, has been appointed interim president of the recently formed Westminster Choir College Acquisition Corporation.
Livingston brings decades of experience to the job. He was formerly vice president of New England Conservatory of Music, dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
Livingston will work with Dean Marshall Onofrio and others to secure regulatory approvals and meet goals.
Kaiwen has expressed its intention “to sustain and grow WCC’s reputation as a world-class music school, while maintaining it as an artistically pre-eminent, academically rigorous, and fiscally sound institution.”
The school’s programming “will be substantially maintained,” even as international students are recruited to the Princeton campus. Opponents to the arrangement between Rider and Kaiwen have filed suit in federal court to block the sale.