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Yo-Yo Ma and Deborah Borda Discuss Art, Music, and Social Justice at Harvard


Last week Yo-Yo Ma joined the New York Philharmonic for a triumphant US Premiere. On Wednesday he traveled to Harvard, his alma mater, for a conversation with Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda — who in 2015 became the first arts executive to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence — for a free, public conversation about art, music, and social justice.

Here are some highlights from the talk, as reported by The Harvard Crimson:

 “It’s never art for art’s sake. Art for life’s sake, or I’d say even further, art for us, for humans.… We invented these things because we think they will help us.” — Yo-Yo Ma

“If you look at the canon, there’s another enormous issue: all the music we play is written by men.” — Deborah Borda, who then described the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19, which marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment by commissioning 19 female composers

“[Borda’s] really a stellar example of marrying something that we may think of as an elitist form, classical music, and making it with purpose to better society, and not just for the few in the concert hall.” — audience member Mary Jane Kornacki

Interested in music with a social conscience? Join us in May and June.

(Photos: Paul Sekhri)

Opera News Profiles ‘Visionary’ Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda


“I will do everything I can to move our art form along the evolutionary path. Will it be revolutionary? I hope so.”

So says President and CEO Deborah Borda in January’s Opera News.

The profile is a vivid snapshot of Borda in action at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, touching on her personal background, her hard-won insights from her successful career in orchestra administration, her bond with Music Director Jaap van Zweden, and defining work traits such as her intense preparation: “I give a lot of thought to what I do,” Borda says. “I always say, the best way to invent the future is to predict it.” 

Read the article here.

(Photo: Dario Acosta)

President and CEO Deborah Borda Inducted Into American Academy of Arts & Sciences


On behalf of Deborah Borda, we’d like to thank the Academy.

No, our much-lauded President and CEO didn’t win an Oscar. But she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences last weekend in Cambridge, Mass., where the Academy is headquartered. Above, Borda (right) shakes hands with Geraldine L. Richmond, Secretary and Board Member of the Academy. 

Borda was in good company: fellow inductees included President Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Tom Hanks, and Katherine Farley, Chairman of Lincoln Center (also pictured).

The Academy “serves the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge” and “convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world.”

Congratulations, Deborah!