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  • LAPA
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Receives $20 Million Gift To Create The David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair & David C. Bohnett Presidential Fund For Discovery And Innovation
  • Dec. 10, 2014
  • Los Angeles (December 10, 2014) – Diane B. Paul, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, today announced that David C. Bohnett, Chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation, has pledged a $20 million gift to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This gift will create the David C. Bohnett Presidential Fund for Discovery and Innovation and will also provide for the naming of the David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair, which endows the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in perpetuity (the position held by Deborah Borda since 2000). This gift is made in honor of Deborah Borda’s continuing accomplishments with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Bohnett is a former Board Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and currently serves on the Board and the Executive Committee.

    One of the largest donations in the history of the LA Phil, this new gift will be divided into two equal parts: $10 million to endow the David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair, and $10 million to launch the David C. Bohnett Presidential Fund for Discovery and Innovation. While the naming of a chair is common practice in major academic institutions, the endowment of a CEO position is rare in artistic organizations.

    The Fund for Discovery and Innovation will be distributed at the discretion of the President for programs that continue to shape the Los Angeles Philharmonic as an international model of an orchestra of the 21st century – through investments in new audience development and initiatives that enhance the institution’s mission of innovative programming and social responsibility to the community.

    Deborah Borda stated, “David Bohnett has again demonstrated not only his incredible generosity and commitment to the Philharmonic, but also his profound belief that musical institutions have an important role to play in civic life. He truly sees the arts and education as an essential human service. I am deeply grateful to David for his support and friendship over the years and now for this transformative gift. His visionary philanthropy will allow the LA Phil to continue to expand the programmatic boundaries of the American symphony orchestra as a pioneer of innovation and excellence. I am honored to occupy a position that bears his name.”

    “It’s a privilege to honor Deborah Borda’s 15 years at the helm of our extraordinary institution by endowing the David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair. A formidable executive as well as a close friend, Deborah has forever changed the landscape of music in L.A.,” said David Bohnett. “Her many significant accomplishments include orchestrating the move to Walt Disney Concert Hall, recruiting Gustavo Dudamel as Music Director, invigorating and expanding programming downtown and at the Hollywood Bowl, and putting the institution on firm financial footing. Deborah is a great part of why the Phil has earned the reputation as, in the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, ‘the most creative, and, therefore, the best orchestra in America’. Now is the ideal time for us to broaden support for the present and future needs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I encourage others to join me in ensuring that the orchestra, an innovative cornerstone of the arts across the nation, continues to enrich the lives of our diverse community for many years to come.”


    David C. Bohnett spent his professional career in the technology and information services industry. He founded GeoCities, an early Internet-based social network and e-commerce company cited in the late ’90s as one of the top four most trafficked sites on the web. The company became publicly traded on NASDAQ and was subsequently acquired by Yahoo! Inc. Bohnett has been recognized as one of Time Digital’s Top 50 Cyber Elite, one of Upside magazine’s Elite 100, and one of Newsweek’s “100 People to Watch in the Next Millennium”. His current activities include serving as the Chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation, a non-profit grant-making organization focused on improving society through social activism. He also manages a portfolio of early stage technology investments through his private equity firm, Baroda Ventures, and sits on the boards of several civic, philanthropic and privately held ventures.

    Deborah Borda's career has been distinguished by her creative leadership, commitment to innovation, and progressive outlook on the role of the orchestra in the 21st century. Prior to becoming President and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2000, she was Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic for a decade, General Manager of the San Francisco Symphony, and President of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In Los Angeles, Borda designed an acclaimed business and curatorial plan, which restored the orchestra to robust artistic and fiscal health; oversaw the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall and the addition of a new shell to the Hollywood Bowl, the LA Phil’s summer home; expanded artistic programming at both venues; and spearheaded the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel as Music Director. Under Borda’s leadership, the LA Phil has made ambitious, forward-looking investments to advance both its artistic and social objectives. The orchestra maintains the most active commissioning program in the country and has garnered international acclaim for its interdisciplinary productions and work with new technologies. In the community, the orchestra has become a valued resource, offering such programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), which has become a model for effecting social change through music on a national stage. A Bennington/Royal College of Music alumnus and a former professional violist, Borda is in demand internationally as a consultant and lecturer.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

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