When Jaap Van Zweden, who has been cancelling guest dates, turned up at the LA Phil last week, antennae started twitching.
The Dutchman does not fly without good reason.
Turns out, he was there to woo the hell out of the LA Phil’s president and get her to come back home and save the sinking and totally directionless New York Philharmonic.
Now we know: it worked. Jaap turned on all the charm and Deborah Borda, who eats soft maestros for breakfast, was convinced – both by his argument and by the concerts he gave with the LA Phil. She can handle the NY Phil’s designated music director.
photo: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
So instead of seeing out the decade in a Pacific glow with an occasional Harvard sabbatical, Ms B is heading off to bang heads at the New York Phil, which has gone wildly off course since she quit 17 years ago, running deficits every year and eating up almost half the $300 million endowment she raised. What’s more the orchestra will soon be losing its home while Lincoln Center calls in the builders.
This is a tough job to enter at 67 years old, but she likes it tough.
Her departure leaves Los Angeles headless for its centennial season and Gustavo Dudamel without a trusted ally.
Watch that space. Watch this one.
Exciting times ahead.