LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE ASSOCIATION NAMES
NEW YORK ARTS EXECUTIVE
JEAN DAVIDSON PRESIDENT & CEO
Davidson, Who Assumes Post on August 31, 2015,
Has Served Since 2011 as Executive Director & CEO of
New York Live Arts,
Internationally Acclaimed Interdisciplinary Performing Arts Center
Under Artistic Direction of Bill T. Jones
She Oversaw Organization’s Creation, Resulting from Strategic Merger of
Dance Theater Workshop and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,
and Has Guided Its Phenomenal Growth and Success Since Inception
New York Arts Executive Jean Davidson, who has been affiliated with some of the country’s most innovative and successful arts organizations, has been named President & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), the nation’s largest professional chorus and Walt Disney Concert Hall resident chorus led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon and heralded around the globe for its unparalleled artistry, announces LAMC Chair David Gindler. She assumes the post on August 31, 2015. Davidson has served since 2011 as Executive Director & CEO of New York Live Arts, an internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary performing arts center under the artistic direction of Bill T. Jones. Guiding its phenomenal growth and success since its inception, she was instrumental in leading the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company through its merger with Dance Theater Workshop to create New York Live Arts, a new model of artist-led, producing and presenting arts organization unique in the United States. Today New York Live Arts, noted for commissioning cutting-edge new works, its vibrant community partnerships and as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, presents more than 100 performances annually in its theater and studios inside its 20,000-square-foot facility in Chelsea, operating with a $5.8 million budget. Davidson is cited for her forward-thinking management style, fostering artistic innovation, developing and expanding creative partnerships with disparate educational and cultural organizations, and overseeing tremendous revenue development and programmatic growth. She previously served as Executive Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in New York City for six years prior to the merger, when the company launched two successful initiatives entitled Partners in Creation and Partners in Education; Managing Director of The Silk Road Project, Inc., a non-profit arts and cultural organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma which during her tenure commissioned 25 chamber works, launched a worldwide tour, released three recordings; and Production Administrator for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Davidson replaces LAMC President & CEO Terry Knowles, who steps down at the end of the season following a tremendously successful 15-year tenure with the chorus, during which time the Chorale experienced unsurpassed financial and artistic growth, toured around the world to critical acclaim, released six commercial CDs, created a recording partnership with Decca Classics, and twice received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s highest choral music award. Davidson’s appointment comes at a critical time in the Chorale’s history, as it is poised to launch its 52nd season and a new period of strategic growth. The national executive search for Knowles’ successor was led by Arts Consulting Group, the leading provider of executive search and other services for the arts and culture industry.
“As the Los Angeles Master Chorale launches a new era of artistic expansion under the inspired vision of Grant Gershon, we are enormously pleased to welcome Jean Davidson as LAMC’s next President & CEO,” says Gindler. “Jean brings to our organization a rich history of collaborating with notable artists and deep experience leading major arts institutions through growth and change. She has demonstrated real understanding of the crucial role of arts organizations in our society, an abiding dedication to good stewardship of resources, and strong dedication to visionary leadership that is grounded in reality. She will be a great asset to our organization, and I look forward to her partnership in the years ahead.”
“This is a terrifically exciting time for the Los Angeles Master Chorale,” states Gershon. “Under the leadership of my dear friend and colleague Terry Knowles, we have enjoyed 15 years of phenomenal artistic growth and organizational stability. Jean Davidson is the perfect person to take us into the next phase of our development as we continue to redefine what a great choral organization can be. She has worked closely with many of the artists that I admire most, including Yo-Yo Ma, Bill T. Jones, Laurie Anderson and many others. Jean brings an invigorating world view to the Chorale, and I look forward to collaborating with her to expand the profile and impact of this amazing ensemble of singers.”
“It is a great honor to be asked to lead the Los Angeles Master Chorale,” says Davidson. “There has never been more creativity and talent, at least in my lifetime, energizing the field of choral music as there is now. Grant Gershon is one of the visionaries leading the field, and I feel privileged to be able to collaborate with him and the exceptional Chorale singers. I look forward to working with Chairman David Gindler, the Board, staff and community to broaden and deepen the recognition, support and audience for this unparalleled organization that has been nurtured by my predecessor, Terry Knowles. On a personal level, I was deeply moved the first time I heard the Chorale live at Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was one of those rare moments when the entire world stood still, and I was inside of this magical moment. It is moments like these that lift us out of our day-to-day worries, suspend our differences and unite us in our humanness. I think these moments are desperately important in our culture today.”
The Chorale’s innovative 2015-16 season, which will be its first with Davidson as President & CEO, features numerous world, US and West Coast premieres as well as semi-staged and multi-media concerts designed to provide immersive experiences. Significant highlights include the launch of “Hidden Handel,” a major new five-year initiative featuring semi-staged and multimedia productions of five of the composer’s great but underrepresented oratorios designed in collaboration with some of the arts world’s leading directors and artists, starting with the semi-staged production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast created for the Chorale by eminent stage director Trevore Ross (April 16 and 17, 2016). Bang On A Can All-Stars joins the Chorale for the West Coast premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields performed with a stunning multimedia backdrop by celebrated visual artist and scenic designer Jeff Sugg. (March 6, 2016). An all-Russian program is anchored by the US premiere of eminent Russian-born composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s intimate Canticle of the Sun, featuring renowned LA Philharmonic Principal Cellist Robert deMaine (September 26 and 27, 2015). “Made in L.A.” spotlights four Chorale-commissioned world premieres by LA-based composers Jeff Beal, Nilo Alcala, Paul Chihara and Moira Smiley as well as works by Angelenos Dale Trumbore, Matthew Brown, Morten Lauridsen and Shawn Kirchner (November 15, 2015). The Chorale also gives two performances of the Verdi Requiem with full orchestra and acclaimed soloists Amber Wagner, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano, Joshua Guerrero, tenor, and Morris Robinson, bass (January 30 and 31, 2016). The season concludes with “Sonic Masterworks,” a cappella gems spanning six centuries, among them Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere; Antonio Lotti’s Crucifixus; Pulitzer prize-winning composer Steven Stucky’s Three New Motets; György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna; Abbie Betinis’ Envoi; and Anders Hillborg’s Muoayiyoum (June 5, 2016).
JEAN DAVIDSON was appointed Chief Executive Officer of New York Live Arts in 2011 after serving as the Executive Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company for six years. She was instrumental in leading the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company through its merger with Dance Theater Workshop to create New York Live Arts, a new model of artist-led, producing and presenting arts organization unique in the United States. During her tenure with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the company launched two successful initiatives entitled Partners in Creation and Partners in Education; the budget increased from $2.2 million to $3.2 million; and touring revenue increased by 25%. Davidson is a frequent guest lecturer on arts management, most recently lecturing at the Università di Bologna in Bologna, Italy, and at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Previously, she served as the Managing Director of the Silk Road Project, a not-for-profit music organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. During her tenure the Project commissioned twenty-five chamber works, launched a worldwide tour, released three recordings, created an educational initiative and co-produced the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival which drew a record 4.5 million visitors and included over 400 artists from 26 countries. Davidson has held positions at the American Conservatory Theater; the Theater and Dance Program at Oberlin College; the American Dance Festival; and the Cleveland Play House. As a freelancer lighting designer early in her career, she lit national and international classical music and dance tours. Highlights include international tours of Yo-Yo Ma’s Soul of the Tango and Appalachian Journey, both Grammy Award winning recordings, and Annie-B Parson’s City of Brides at Dance Theater Workshop and the Guggenheim Works in Process Series at Lincoln Center. Davidson is an Oberlin College alumna. She is married to Kojiro Umezaki, a musician (shakuhachi) and composer who is on the music faculty at the University of California, Irvine.
Giving a voice to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Grammy-nominated LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE is led by Kiki and David Gindler Artistic Director Grant Gershon. Proclaimed “the nation’s most pioneering major chorus” (Los Angeles Times), it has also been hailed as “inspired” (The New York Times), “magnificent” (Chicago Tribune) and “a superb vocal ensemble” (The New York Observer). The Chorale recently completed its 51st season as a resident company of The Music Center of Los Angeles County and its 12th as the resident chorus at Disney Hall. Presenting its own concert series each season, it performs choral music from the earliest writings to the most recent contemporary compositions. To date, the choir has commissioned 47 and premiered 99 new works, of which 68 were world premieres, and has been awarded three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence. The Chorale has performed in more than 500 concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at both Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, and has toured with the orchestra to Europe and New York City. It has also appeared at the Ojai Music Festival, the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival and the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as in leading venues throughout the Southland. Its discography includes five commercial CDs under Gershon’s baton. The latest, released in 2012 on Decca, features three works by Polish composer Henryk Górecki. In addition, in 2013, as part of its 50th anniversary season celebration, the Chorale released a digital recording featuring signature a cappella works available online-only at LAMC.org, iTunes and Amazon.com. LAMC previously released three CDs under former Music Director Paul Salamunovich on RCM, including the Grammy-nominated Lauridsen-Lux Aeterna. The Chorale is also featured with Gershon on the soundtracks of such major motion pictures as Lady in the Water and License to Wed. Serving more than 30,000 audience members of all ages annually, the Los Angeles Master Chorale also provides education outreach to 6,000 students each year.
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