Kim Noltemy Day was declared
by the mayor of Boston a year ago when Noltemy left that city’s fabled symphony to run the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Indeed Kim Noltemy Day might well have been trumpeted at the Meyerson Symphony Center when she arrived in January.
Brimming with ideas, steeped in 21 years of experience in live music, both classical and pop,
she promises to do for new conductor Fabio Luisi what Deborah Borda did for Esa-Pekka Salonen
and Gustavo Dudamel as CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, now, for departing Dallas maestro Jaap van Zweden in his new arena, the New York Philharmonic.
Before van Zweden even officially arrived, Borda had canceled a US tour, deciding instead to emphasize home base—“Phil the Hall” was the motto.
She also had called off a gut-wrenching renovation that would have torn the innards out of David Geffen Hall at a cost rapidly rising to $600 million,
or maybe $900 million, putting the players on the streets for two seasons at least, searching like vagabonds for a place to perform.
In her spare time, Borda quickly raised $50 million,
BRAVE NEW DAY a good-will gesture toward curing the orchestra’s chronic deficit.
Fabio Luisi, like van Zweden, is a conductor of the first rank, in line at one point to succeed James Levine as music director of the Metropolitan Opera.
Getting him to Dallas is a fantastic coup, and a lot of the credit must go to the taste and intelligence of Morton Meyerson, chair of the search committee.
There’s a good chance, however, that Kim Noltemy also figured in Luisi’s decision. No conductor, no matter how gifted, can do everything.
Without a strong president to raise money, negotiate contracts, weigh critical choices and indeed, fill the hall,
maestros are in danger of making music that never gets across the footlights to a wider world. Noltemy knows how to do all of that.
In a nation of too many lightweights who think they are heavyweights, BRAVE NEW DAY she is the real thing.
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