Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

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Ted Quanrud
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Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by Ted Quanrud » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:36 am

Good news, I think, for New York; less so for Los Angeles:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/arts ... v=top-news

John F
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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by John F » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:45 pm

It's a mixed blessing at best. The Philharmonic has been in trouble with the sudden and premature departure of Matthew VanBiesen, executive director and president for only 5 years. With the renovation of the Philharmonic's concert hall and consequently two seasons without a home, complicated and difficult times lie ahead, and planning for them should be well underway.

Deborah Borda knows the Philharmonic from her previous tour here as executive director, and getting her back would seem to be a coup. But she was behind the orchestra's failed effort to sign her preferred music director succeeding Zubin Mehta, that is Riccardo Muti, and reportedly clashed with the actual choice Kurt Masur over programming policy, which is really not part of the job description. Masur stayed and Borda left. I've heard nothing bad about her work in Los Angeles and hope things will go better here this time - the orchestra badly needs that. At least she won't also be executive director, as that will be the experienced William Thomas. Fingers crossed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/arts ... borda.html
John Francis

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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:02 pm

The situations of the two orchestras couldn't be more different. Borda leaves Los Angeles in excellent financial and artistic shape, despite my reservations regarding Dudamel. However, the orchestra exists in an environment in which the entertainment industry is so overpowering that there is very little interest or excitement around classical music, opera, serious theater, or the visual arts. Most movers and shakers in the entertainment industry are either indifferent to or hostile to classical music. (In the visual arts, Jeffrey Deitch, the last head of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, nearly drove the museum into bankruptcy in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to appeal to the Hollywood crowd--the response from the Hollywood types was underwhelming, to say the least.)
By contrast, in New York, classical music and the orchestra still matter. However, the orchestra will be homeless for several years, has serious financial challenges, and, unlike Los Angeles, where new and relatively new music has become a staple, is basically a museum. (Booting Gilbert for van Zweden, whose commitment to contemporary music is, at best, iffy, will not help on that front.) I wish Deborah Borda all the luck, but she will have her work cut out for her.
Los Angeles will need a strong leader if that orchestra is to maintain its relevance in a town so dominated by glitz and fluff. I have no clue as to whom that might be.

John F
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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by John F » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:09 pm

David Geffen lives in LA, doesn't he? But then, he's originally from Brooklyn. :D Interesting points. The orchestras in cities like LA, Boston, and Philadelphia have an advantage over the NY Phil in that there are fewer big ticket performing arts organizations competing for the moolah that all those cities have plenty of. The Metropolitan Opera's annual budget makes the Phil's look like pocket change.
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Modernistfan
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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:40 pm

Los Angeles was very different decades ago, when you had a large number of central European ​émigrés living there who were highly cultured. Yes, some of these people were involved in the entertainment industry, but they didn't abandon their values and their dedication to high culture. One of my friends growing up in Los Angeles was Danny Temianka, the son of the émigré Polish violinist Henri Temianka. The first time I ever heard chamber music live was at the UCLA chancellor's house in Pacific Palisades when I was invited to hear Temianka's string quartet play several works, including Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet. Among the people I met there was Marta Feuchtwanger, the widow of the German writer Lion Feuchtwanger. It was a completely different world. As recently as 20 years ago, Westwood Boulevard, a major street on the west side of Los Angeles, was lined with dozens of bookstores, including stores specializing in rare books and foreign-language books. Not one of those bookstores is there today.
As far as David Geffen goes, he does support serious theatre in Los Angeles (the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood), but, as far as I am aware, he has little interest in or commitment to classical music.

John F
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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by John F » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:25 pm

I mentioned David Geffen because last year, he contributed $100 million toward the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, which has been renamed David Geffen Hall. It's used for all kinds of events, including some college and high school graduations, but by far most are classical music concerts. How much classical music he personally cares about, I wouldn't know, but I'd call this a significant commitment.
John Francis

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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:45 pm

Modernistfan wrote:
Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:40 pm
Los Angeles was very different decades ago, when you had a large number of central European ​émigrés living there who were highly cultured. Yes, some of these people were involved in the entertainment industry, but they didn't abandon their values and their dedication to high culture. One of my friends growing up in Los Angeles was Danny Temianka, the son of the émigré Polish violinist Henri Temianka. The first time I ever heard chamber music live was at the UCLA chancellor's house in Pacific Palisades when I was invited to hear Temianka's string quartet play several works, including Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet. Among the people I met there was Marta Feuchtwanger, the widow of the German writer Lion Feuchtwanger. It was a completely different world. As recently as 20 years ago, Westwood Boulevard, a major street on the west side of Los Angeles, was lined with dozens of bookstores, including stores specializing in rare books and foreign-language books. Not one of those bookstores is there today.
As far as David Geffen goes, he does support serious theatre in Los Angeles (the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood), but, as far as I am aware, he has little interest in or commitment to classical music.
.....And don't forget Jascha Heifetz used to live on the West Coast as well, and used to give recitals there, also playing and recording with the orchestras. Bruno Walter also recorded with musicians from the L. A. Philharmonic, renamed the "Columbia Symphony." His Mahler IX and Bruckner IV, VII & IX are still considered excellent and remain in print today. Not to mention Zubin Mehta, who got his start in L. A.

John F
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Re: Deborah Borda returns to the NY Philharmonic

Post by John F » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:02 am

Therre were also the Monday Evening Concerts in the '50s in which Robert Craft conducted modern music from Webern to Boulez, performed by ensembles recruited from studio musicians. But that was in the bygone Los Angeles which Modernistfan says is no more.

I believe Bruno Walter, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Heifetz lived in Los Angeles because of the weather, more clement than New York's, not the city's cultural climate. Columbia and RCA Victor recorded them there because there wasn't much point making them come to the east coast and paying their expenses; but when Walter and Stravinsky did travel to conduct the New York Philharmonic and other orchestras, Columbia's recording teams made recordings wherever they went.
John Francis

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