John C. Argue Dickens Medal of Honor Presented at 21st Annual Event
In recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the arts, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda was presented with the John C. Argue Dickens Medal of Honor as part of the 2007 Charles Dickens Dinner presented by the USC Thornton School of Music, Friday, December 14, 2007. This much-anticipated annual dinner, in its 21st year, was held this year at the Biltimore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Borda, in her three-decade career in music administration, has become known her bold, creative leadership and innovative outlook for orchestral institutions of the 21st century. A highly effective communicator, strategic planner and consensus-builder, she is widely respected for her record of transforming large music organizations through a combination of artistic vision and fiscal responsibility. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Borda leads one of the largest music organizations in the United States. She is responsible for managing all artistic, administrative and technical operations of the Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as the presentation of close to 300 concerts annually at these iconic venues.
As part of the award, a scholarship has been created in Borda’s name. The recipient of the Deborah Borda Scholarship is USC undergraduate John Stulz, an 18-year-old native of Columbus, Ohio.
Also honored this year was Lamont Dozier, with the Thornton Legacy Award. Dozier, known as America’s No. 1 Songwriter, penned more than 54 No 1. hits for such legendary artists as the Supremes, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and many others.
DEBORAH BORDA assumed her present duties in January, 2000, just as ground was broken for Walt Disney Concert Hall. Forging a strong partnership with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and architect Frank Gehry, she developed and implemented a multi-year strategic plan for the $274 million project that encompassed construction, gala opening events in October 2003, and expansion and reconceptualization of the entire scope of musical presentations beginning with the historic inaugural season in the new Concert Hall. Within ten months of Walt Disney Concert Hall’s opening, Borda also oversaw major renovations to the famed Hollywood Bowl, creating another highly competitive Philharmonic venue for the 21st century. Nationally, she has overseen the resumption of national radio broadcasts by the Philharmonic, and led the way into the online age by working with iTunes to make the L.A. Phil’s adventurous repertoire available within a week of its live performance. Internationally, Borda has reinvigorated the orchestra’s touring profile by securing residencies at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Cologne Philharmonie, and undertaking artistic collaboration with the Paris Opera, their first-ever with an American orchestra. Deborah Borda came to Los Angeles after close to a decade as Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic, which she guided through a period of artistic growth and fiscal re-tooling. Her appointment there in 1991 made her the first woman in recent history to manage a major American symphony orchestra. She led the planning for the orchestra’s 150th anniversary celebration, which provided an opportunity to launch a host of innovative new programs such as American Classics, the Rush Hour Concerts, the Millennium Project, Children’s Promenade, and numerous festivals. Under her leadership, the New York Philharmonic instituted live national radio broadcasts and was one of the pioneers in establishing its own successful record label. Also in New York, Borda set an industry precedent by negotiating a landmark six-year labor agreement with the orchestra. During Borda’s tenure, the renowned orchestra cured a structural deficit and returned to a stable financial basis. Born in New York City in 1949, Borda began violin studies at the age of 6, and added the viola at 15. After completing her freshman year at the New England Conservatory of Music, she transferred to Bennington College in Vermont. Following graduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London, she enjoyed an active performing career. Deborah Borda is in demand internationally as a consultant and lecturer in both music and management, and is frequently called upon to judge music competitions. She has chaired the Music Panel of both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Major American Orchestra Managers Group. Borda has also been featured in numerous national publications and television news programs.
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