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Ed Intemann, lecturer, Schwartz Center lighting designer, dies at 60

E.D. (Ed) Intemann, M.F.A. ’84, a senior lecturer in the Department of Performing and Media Arts and resident lighting designer at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts for more than two decades, died Feb. 21 at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. He was 60.

Ed Intemann

Intemann joined the department – then known as Theatre, Film and Dance – in 1995 and created the lighting for more than 60 shows at Cornell, including such classical and modern theater productions as Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” “The Bourgeois Gentleman,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Hamlet,” “Antigone” and “Amadeus.”

Courses he taught included a lighting design studio, technical production labs and writing seminars. He advised undergraduates, supervised graduate student research, and served as faculty adviser to such student organizations as the Cornell Shakespeare Troupe, Brand X Musical Theatre and Skits-O-Phrenics.

“Ed Intemann was deeply committed to his lighting design students,” said interim department chair Sabine Haenni. “He was also a wonderful Cornell citizen at large, teaching and advising students across departments and colleges, while still finding time to be a guest artist in professional theater.”

His lighting design for the world-premiere production of “What Happens Next” at The Cherry Artspace in Ithaca earned him a Syracuse Area Live Theatre Award nomination in October 2018.

He also designed scenery; seen in Schwartz Center productions including “The Miser,” “Bedroom Farce” and “Slightly to the Left of Burlesque.” He designed both scenery and lighting for “The Comedy of Errors” and for several dance concerts, and was a creative collaborator on many performance pieces.

He was a co-director of the 2017 dance concert “Captured Spaces” and served as artistic director and lighting designer for the 2005 dance concert “Reflections in an Eye of Titanium.” He also contributed his design talents to Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre and Hangar Theatre.

“Ed lit the world for us,” said Jumay Chu, senior lecturer in dance. “Day in and day out, he let us take his brilliance for granted. His art was a form of teaching. Year after year, he helped me to see what I wanted and to bring it to life. Everyone who has moved through our department has a story like mine, as do hundreds of artists across the country – directors, actors, choreographers, dancers, musicians and other lighting designers. At my best, I shall always be working by Ed’s lights.”

Intemann received Faculty Innovation and Cornell Council for the Arts grants in 2000 and 2007, respectively, for collaborative teaching and research, and public service projects with Jan Jennings, professor emerita of design and environmental analysis.

“E.D. Intemann and I collaborated for 18 years with joint studio projects between his lighting design and my interior design students,” Jennings said. “He was a vital part of a multiyear research project and served as a valuable minor member for many DEA graduate thesis committees. [He] mentored many of my students, some taking courses from him for their entire four-year careers at Cornell. His generosity and knowledge made him a top Cornell educator, and he is sorely missed.”

Intemann graduated magna cum laude in 1981 from the University of Denver with a B.A. in theater. During his master’s work at Cornell, he designed costumes, lighting and scenery for campus and Hangar Theatre productions. Before returning to Cornell, he taught at Frostburg State University in Maryland and at the University of South Carolina.

He was a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and of the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology. He also designed lighting software and was a certified ski instructor at Greek Peak.

Survivors include his partner, Ellen Chase, and two sons.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith