Matthew VanBesien Named Next Executive Director of the NY Philharmonic
Gary W. Parr, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Philharmonic, today announced that Matthew VanBesien has been appointed the next Executive Director of The Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc. He succeeds Zarin Mehta, who has held the Orchestra’s chief
administrative post since September 2000. Mr. VanBesien will assume the position of Executive Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic in early spring of 2012, and will work with Mr. Mehta in a transitional period through the 2011–12 season. Matthew VanBesien currently holds the position of managing director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, in Australia.
“I thank Gary Parr, the Search Committee, and the Board of Directors for the opportunity to serve the New York Philharmonic as Executive Director,” said Mr. VanBesien. “This is one of the greatest orchestras in the world: its history is legendary, the musicians, unsurpassed, and its evolution under the artistic leadership of Music Director Alan Gilbert, truly visionary. Alan and I have had in-depth conversations about the future — I feel a deep affinity with his ideas, and am eager to collaborate closely with him and the entire organization to build on the extraordinary work that is already defining the Orchestra as a 21st-century cultural leader.”
Music Director Alan Gilbert commented, “I have greatly valued the candid discussions I’ve had with Matthew this fall, and am truly impressed with his contemporary, forwardlooking ideas about the role this Orchestra can play in the cultural life of New York, of America, and globally. He has the highest respect for the traditions of classical music, and a particularly powerful insight into the lives of musicians, cultivated in part during his years as a French horn player. I know that our shared interests and philosophies make him a partner with whom I will enjoy forging the Philharmonic’s future.” “There has been talk about a new generation taking the helm of the New York Philharmonic, and this is now manifest, powerfully, with Matthew VanBesien’s appointment as Executive Director,” said Chairman Gary Parr. “His impressive knowledge, creative passion, and reverence for Philharmonic tradition will be remarkable assets to the Orchestra and the institution. The synergy of his ideas and the vision of Alan Gilbert for the future of the Philharmonic make him the ideal choice for this vital leadership role.
“I’d like to thank the Search Committee — which included Christopher Flowers, Karen LeFrak, Peter May, and Oscar Schafer — as well as the full Board of Directors for their hard work throughout the selection process.”
Mr. Parr added: “I cannot let this moment pass without acknowledging the historic and continuing contributions that Zarin Mehta has made over his 12-year tenure. His strength and wisdom, as well as his love of music and his profound belief in the importance of the New York Philharmonic, have advanced the Orchestra’s global prominence, and set a solid groundwork for an even brighter future.”
Matthew VanBesien was appointed to the position of managing director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in August 2009, and he commenced work in this position in February 2010. He has been serving as a member of the Board of Overseers for The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and as a Board Director for Symphony Services International (formerly Symphony Australia). In April 2005 he was appointed executive director and chief executive officer of the Houston Symphony — overseeing the administration, artistic operations, marketing, development, and finances for the organization with an annual budget of approximately $25 million — after serving as the orchestra’s general manager beginning in 2003.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. VanBesien earned a bachelor of music degree in French horn performance from Indiana University. As a professional musician, he was second French hornist in the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans from 1992 to 2000. In the 2001–02 season he completed the League of American Orchestra’s Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, a highly selective, year-long management training program designed to develop orchestral leadership talent. During this fellowship he worked at the Aspen Music Festival, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He is married to Rosanne Jowitt, a geoscientist.
Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world; on May 5, 2010, it performed its 15,000th concert. Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, began his tenure in September 2009, succeeding a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants going back to Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. Renowned around the globe, the Philharmonic has appeared in 430 cities in 63 countries — including the February 2008 historic visit to Pyongyang, DPRK. The Orchestra, which appears annually on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, has made nearly 2,000 recordings since 1917, with more than 500 currently available, in addition to more than 50 live concerts available as downloads at http://www.nyphil.org/recordings