LA Phil replaces boss

LA Phil replaces boss


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2023

The orchestra has moved swiftly to plug the gap left by CEO Chad Smith, who’s heading to Boston. They’ve upgraded a long-term insider for the time being.

Thomas L. Beckmen, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, announced today that the Board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Daniel Song to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer; Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Chad Smith will continue to advise the Board of Directors and Executive leadership through August 7, prior to assuming his new role as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“We are grateful to Daniel and Chad for helping to manage our executive transition seamlessly over the next busy months,” Thomas L. Beckmen said, “as the Board undertakes an international search to identify the LA Phil’s next Chief Executive Officer. Thanks to Daniel’s depth of experience, Chad’s ongoing counsel, the Executive Team’s skillful leadership, and the Board’s guidance, we are able to move forward with gratitude, confidence, and excitement for the future.”

Daniel Song has extensive knowledge of the LA Phil, having begun his career with the organization in 2004 in the areas of philanthropy, artistic planning, and orchestra management. After a period as Vice President and General Manager of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he returned to the LA Phil in 2017 in the role of Vice President, Philharmonic and Production. In this role, he oversaw management of the Orchestra, concert production, stage facilities, touring, and media recordings and projects. In June 2021, Song was named Chief Operating Officer, expanding his portfolio to include operation and stewardship of all four LA Phil venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, The Ford, and Beckmen YOLA Center.


  • Anon says:

    Maybe they should try to get Mark Williams, who as far as I can tell has a stellar reputation and is in a credible position to tone down the worst excesses of DEI programming and appointments. Or maybe they will make this interim arrangement permanent if everything works out.

  • Long time orchestra member says:

    Good move

  • CA says:

    Fundraising ability?

  • West Coast Joe says:

    When will orchestra boards learn the lesson that these top jobs require a leader with actual CEO experience? Keeping a giant machine running for a few months does not equal experience. A general manager is not the same as a CEO when it comes to fundraising and creating a good workplace environment for both staff and musicians. At this level, someone with 1 or 2 years of CEO experience isn’t enough. This is not a learn-as-you-go job. For LA in particular, they need someone who has at least a decade and preferably someone who has done a music director search. Quit mining the same handful of people or the newbies who haven’t earned a seat at the table. There are plenty of talented CEOs in smaller orchestras who are hungry for the chance. It’s doubtful that they are just in it for the prestige but they are willing to put in the work.

    • CA says:

      Thank you West Coast Joe for saying what I’ve wanted to say for years!!!!!

    • John W. Norvis says:

      How did Simon Woods work out for them? Lots of experience, not a household name, etc.

    • MWnyc says:

      Joe, this is an interim appointment for while they’re doing the search. It’s right there in the second paragraph: “the Board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Daniel Song to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer.”

      Someone who, as you put it, “has at least a decade and preferably someone who has done a music director search” is unlikely to be available on a few weeks’ notice.

  • Judy says:

    Daniel Song is absolutely an AWESOME choice. SMART, NICE and very colleagial. They have the goods.

  • I Know That Guy says:

    A smart move for the orchestra, and I would not be surprised if Daniel does well enough to get the permanent promotion.

  • Fly On the Wall says:

    I have known and worked with Daniel for the entire time that he has worked at the LA Phil. He is collegial, intelligent, strategic, thoughtful. He also cares very much about the musicians and the staff. He knows the bird and donors and enjoys great relationships with them. I sincerely hope that his interim becomes permanent because he is the leader that the LA Phil needs to guide the organization into its new chapter. Bravo to Tom Beckmen and the Executive Committee!

  • Fly On the Wall says:

    *board, not bird

  • Zandonai says:

    I think next CEO should be black or Persian to fit in with their cultural, racial inclusivity agenda.

  • Anon lapo member says:

    It is not a position for one person. I think it might be three.
    1.Phenomenal organization and markerimg skills.
    2. Artistic olanner who truly knows artist across the world, not through you-tube, and appreciates the
    tradition and history of orchestral music, and recognizes the true quality of talent.
    3. Someone who is incredibly good at reaching out to donors and able to excite them to support rhe orchestra and its musicians.