Thursday, March 5, 2015

Harvard Calling

Deborah Borda
We applaud the good sense of Harvard University in engaging Deborah Borda, and of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in granting her a “sabbatical”—she says she's pausing to reflect on her first 15 years with the LA Phil, so the math doesn't quite work—to assume the post.

Borda, CEO of the LA Phil, will serve four months (September–December 2015)  as Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Center for Public Leadership of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her portfolio will include cultural entrepreneurship, arts leadership development and mentoring, and exploring the role of the arts in contemporary and future society.

As musicologists write and re-write the history of the American symphony orchestra, Borda's work in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles keeps coming to the fore as exemplifying how the concept of philharmonia was meant to work from the start: not only in such accomplishments as her inaugural double-whammy in Los Angeles (Disney Hall / Dudamel), but also in such projects as Take A Stand, where the Longy School of Music, Bard College, and the Phil—considering the ideas behind El Sistema—ask the question “What can a conservatory, a college, and a world-class orchestra do to enhance the social footprint of music and education in the United States?” (Answer: conferences, regional workshops, and a Master of Arts in Teaching program.)

Elsewhere I described Borda as “a new superstar of orchestra affairs, armed with a strong
education (Bennington College and the Royal College of Music in London) and serious orchestral experience. ... Her great success in bringing the musicians, conductor, public, and venue into unparalleled resonance has made [the Los Angeles Philharmonic]  the success story of the epoch.”

                                                                                           —DKH

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