David Bohnett on the LA Phil's Decade at Disney
As the Mylar stars drifted down from the rafters of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Monday night--- a truly glittering end to a uniquely appropriate 10th anniversary gala that began with John Cage’s 4’33” of silence (a real showcase for the acoustics!) and ended with “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington----a quiet game of musical chairs took place behind the scenes.
After serving as Chairman of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Board of Directors for the past five years, philanthropist and technology entrepreneur David C. Bohnett stepped down, and retired attorney Diane Paul stepped up. Paul’s been attending LA Philharmonic concerts since the 1970’s, and joined the organization’s Board of Overseers amid all the excitement surrounding the opening of Disney Hall.
Bohnett has plenty to occupy him. He’s still a member of the LA Phil Board, of course, but is also founder of the Foundation that bears his name, which is committed to effecting positive change through community building and social activism. The Foundation supports a broad spectrum of arts, educational and civic programs including LACMA and the Venice Family Clinic; LGBT-related causes; graduate school leadership programs at the University of Michigan, UCLA, NYU and Harvard; and voting rights and registration initiatives, among others.
Shortly before the transition, Bohnett and I came together at the Foundation’s elegant Beverly Drive offices. I didn’t let a chest cold stop me from this long-planned chat about the challenges facing the orchestra as it attempts to build up its endowment for the first time amid concerns about underground drilling under Grand Avenue, and how that might affect the hall’s brilliant and warm acoustics. Bohnett also addressed a few other pesky Disney Hall peccadilloes outlined by the LA Times music critic Mark Swed in a recent piece about the hall’s tenth anniversary season.