Los Angeles Master Chorale picks New York arts leader as president

New York Live Arts director Jean Davidson is named president and CEO of Los Angeles Master Chorale.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale, the resident chorus of Walt Disney Concert Hall, announced on Thursday that it has named a new president and chief executive.

Jean Davidson, executive director of New York Live Arts, will replace Terry Knowles, who has been with the Master Chorale for the last 15 years.

"Jean was remarkably impressive throughout our interview process," said David Gindler, chairman of the Master Chorale. "She has a very thoughtful approach to addressing problems and answering questions."

The group chose Davidson after a national search because of her work with top artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Laurie Anderson as well as her track record at New York Live Arts since 2011. Davidson was instrumental in the creation of the group, formed through a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the Dance Theater Workshop.

Davidson will start at the end of August, as the organization enters its 52nd season and pushes to expand its local and international presence.

"The challenge for Jean and the organization moving forward will be to build the scaffolding to support [artistic director] Grant Gershon's artistic goals and vision," Gindler said. "He has been talking to the board about some bold plans."

Those plans include creating concerts that consist of more than just singers onstage, much like the "Voices of Light" show the Chorale performed in October. For that performance, singers were accompanied by a screening of the 1928 silent film "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

During Knowles' tenure, the L.A. Master Chorale released six commercial CDs, entered into a recording partnership with Decca Classics and twice received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America's Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation's most prestigious choral music award.

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