Classical Music Blockbuster: L.A. Phil Head Deborah Borda Exiting to Lead the New York Phil
She will return to the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. after hiring the charismatic Gustavo Dudamel and reinvigorating plans to build the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Deborah Borda, the longtime president and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is leaving to head up the New York Philharmonic.
Borda, who spent 17 years leading the L.A. Phil and spearheaded the appointment of the charismatic Venezuelan conductor and music director Gustavo Dudamel, will begin as president and CEO of the New York Phil on Sept. 15.
Before coming to L.A., the native New Yorker and former professional violist spent a decade as executive director of the New York Phil, the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S.
Current New York Phil president Matthew VanBesien announced in January that he was stepping down. A committee led by L.A. Phil board chairman Jay Rasulo to find Borda's replacement will begin immediately, he said.
"With the support of our superb musicians, board and staff, the L.A. Phil has boldly defined a way forward for musical organizations throughout the globe," Borda, 67, said in a statement. "My gratitude is profound. I especially express my deepest thanks and admiration to my partner for now almost the past decade, Gustavo Dudamel.
"Leaving him and indeed my L.A. Phil family is not easy, but my solace is in returning to my home and my family. I have been blessed to work with such courageous and loving partners. The institution is in a robust and healthy state both artistically and financially and is wonderfully positioned to continue to make history."
Said Dudamel: "Deborah and I have come such a long way together in the last 10 years, and it has been a truly productive road that we have traveled. Together we have fought for music education and community, and she believes, as do I, in breaking down walls, not building them. We will miss her energy, vision and spirit … and also her loving and caring presence!"
Rasulo, the former Walt Disney CFO, said in a statement that "the prominence and exciting reputation which the L.A. Phil currently enjoys around the world is due in large part to her visionary and powerful leadership."
At L.A. Phil — the largest symphonic organization in the U.S. — Borda reinvigorated plans to build the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and expanded the scope of the L.A. Phil's presentations there.
Borda graduated with a music major from Bennington College in Vermont in 1971 and then studied at the Royal College of Music in London. She also has served as general manager of the San Francisco Symphony and president of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.