Throughout her career, Deborah Borda has extended the artistic, commercial, and technological boundaries of American symphony orchestras (New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra). In 2015 she became the first arts executive to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence. In 2018 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and named Chair of the Avery Fisher Artist Program.
She became the first woman in recent history to manage a major American symphony orchestra when she was appointed Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1991, and subsequently guided the Orchestra through a period of artistic and fiscal growth.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s success during Deborah Borda’s 17-year tenure was chosen for case studies by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. She reinvigorated plans to build and launch Walt Disney Concert Hall, oversaw the addition of a new shell for the Hollywood Bowl, and reimagined and diversified programming at both venues. Committed to the orchestra’s social imperative, Ms. Borda and Mr. Dudamel invested in groundbreaking educational initiatives, including the founding of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), and the national Take a Stand initiative, which promotes social change through music.
A former professional violist, Deborah Borda graduated from Bennington College and continued her studies at London’s Royal College of Music. She received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. She is in demand internationally as a consultant and lecturer, and her accomplishments in the field of orchestral music have been cited in numerous reviews and articles, both nationally and internationally.