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  • LAPA
  • Mar. 2, 2015
  • Los Angeles, CA (MARCH 2, 2015)— The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today that Los Angeles Philharmonic President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda will join the Center for Public Leadership community as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence. Borda is the first arts executive to hold the post. Her appointment will begin in September 2015, at which time she will take a four-month sabbatical from the Philharmonic.

    Borda is widely regarded as one of the most successful arts executives in the United States, and is known for her innovative approach to shaping the role of orchestras in the 21st century. She has led the LA Phil, which maintains the largest operating budget of any American orchestra, into an era of robust artistic and financial health. In partnership with the LA Phil's lauded Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, Borda has developed a portfolio of influential artistic and educational programs, including such high-profile initiatives as the in/SIGHT series, the El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra LA, and the most active commissioning program in the country. Her ambitious vision for the LA Phil, combined with her business acumen, has earned the organization an unrivaled reputation for artistic excellence and creativity worldwide.

    Says CPL executive director Patricia Bellinger, “Deborah is an adventurous and smart leader. Through her bold management of the LA Phil, I’ve witnessed her commitment to social responsibility and her value of collaboration across disciplines—themes woven throughout our leadership curriculum at CPL. Deborah pushes the envelope, and we can’t wait for her to bring her expertise and savvy to our graduate students.”

    Continues Bellinger “We are so grateful to longtime CPL supporters Rita and Gustave Hauser for underwriting the Leader-in-Residence program. Their generosity ensures that we are able to bring world-class practitioners to Harvard in a truly unique and intimate student setting, and to build CPL’s legacy as a premier institution for leadership training in the U.S.”

    During her tenure at CPL, Borda will contribute as an active member to CPL’s community of scholarship and learning. She will be deeply involved in efforts around cultural entrepreneurship, and will develop mentorship opportunities for students at HKS. In addition to engaging with students across the campus, she will contribute to lectures and leadership development programming for CPL’s community of over 100 student fellows—HKS degree candidates with demonstrated leadership potential who receive scholarships and robust co-curricular programming through the Center’s named fellowship programs—during the academic year.

    “This invitation comes at an opportune time for me, as I pause to reflect on the exciting adventure of the past 15 years with the Los Angeles Philharmonic,” said Deborah Borda. “It is a privilege to be asked to develop leaders of the future and to further explore the role of the arts in society and cultural entrepreneurism. I look forward to returning refreshed and filled with new ideas as we prepare for the celebration of the LA Phil’s upcoming centennial.”

    “As Board Chair of the LA Phil, I have been fortunate to see Deborah’s remarkable leadership abilities at work firsthand. It was only a matter of time before they captured the attention of one of our nation’s most esteemed educational institutions. This is the first time the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership has welcomed an executive from the performing arts to act as a Leader-in-Residence. It should come as a surprise to no one that Deborah was their first pick. She is a leader of immense gifts, and we are delighted to know that she will have a role in shaping the leaders of tomorrow,” said Diane B. Paul, Board Chair, Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Prior to joining the LA Phil, Borda was executive director of the New York Philharmonic and general manager of the San Francisco Symphony; she continues to work internationally as a consultant and lecturer.

    About the Center for Public Leadership
    Established through a generous gift from a foundation funded by Les and Abigail Wexner, the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School seeks to develop a steady flow of young leaders who will serve the public good and groundbreaking scholarship in areas relating to leadership. Under the direction of Executive Director Patricia Bellinger and Co-Directors Max Bazerman and David Gergen, the Center pursues its mission in three distinct ways:

    • Identifying, investing in, and supporting the rising generation’s brightest stars through robust fellowships and cutting-edge leadership development programs.
    • Extending the frontiers of knowledge through research and scholarship on leadership, public service, and decision-making.
    • Convening the world’s preeminent scholars and advocates for public service across fields and disciplines for game-changing engagement with students and faculty.

    CPL’s programming combines the tools of strategic and financial policy analysis—academic coursework of the first order—with self-understanding and communication tools that equip its students to handle the complexities of modern leadership.

    About Deborah Borda, President and Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association:
    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 the 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.

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    Media Contacts:
    Sophie Jefferies (213) 972 3422;
    Lael Harris (617) 496-6251;

  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, 213-972-3422,
    Lael Harris, 617-496-6521,