Overture Center President/CEO Sandra Gajic passes away after fight with cancer

Sandra Gajic
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- The President and CEO of Overture Center in Madison, Sandra Gajic, passed away Friday, the Center announced. She was 66.

The Overture Center says Gajic died after a seven-month battle with cancer. She passed away while being treated at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg.

Gajic was appointed to the position in July of 2018 after serving more than 20 years in various arts and cultural roles.

“Sandra was very energetic and passionate and had a drive about her that was really second to none,” said Betty Harris Custer, chairman of the Overture board of directors, in a release Friday. “She will be immeasurably missed and mourned. In her all too short, fifteen-month tenure, she accomplished more than many might have in years. The Sandra Gajic legacy will live on. As said in HAMILTON, her story will be told.”

Gajic began her career in the arts in 1991, when she joined the Canadian Opera Company, eventually becoming a manager after 16 years of service there.

From 2008-11 Gajic worked for EPCOR CENTRE for Performing Arts, and from 2011-13 for the Edmonton Opera Association. In 2013 she was named executive director of the Shumka Dancers, and then in 2014, Gajic was named Director of the Civic Theatres, in Vancouver, Canada. Gajic then joined the Overture Center in Madison in 2018.

"Gajic absolutely loved Overture’s diverse arts presentations, including Kids in the Rotunda, Duck Soup Cinema, Broadway shows, concerts, plays and arts exhibits. She was thrilled to bring the 24-show run of the national hit HAMILTON to Madison in November/December, attracting more than 52,000 patrons," according to the release.

Gajic was born in Oct. 23, 1953, in the former Yugoslavia. Gajic held bachelor’s degrees in economics and music/piano and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Belgrade. She spoke six languages: English, Croatian, Serbian, Italian, French and Spanish.

The president and CEO before Gajic, Ted DeDee, retired in May of 2018.