New York Philharmonic Names VanBesien Executive Director

Posted on: January 4, 2012

The New York Philharmonic today announced the appointment of Matthew VanBesien as its next executive director. VanBesien will assume the title of executive director designate in early spring of 2012, succeeding Zarin Mehta, who has been executive director since 2000. VanBesien will work with Mehta in a transitional period through the 2011–12 season. VanBesien is currently managing director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, in Australia; he was appointed to that position in August of 2009. Prior to that, he had been executive director and chief executive officer of the Houston Symphony since 2005, overseeing an orchestra with an annual budget of approximately $25 million. He had previously served as the Houston Symphony’s general manager since 2003. In a press release, Philharmonic Board Chairman Gary Parr said, “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. 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 [Music Director] Alan Gilbert for the future of the Philharmonic make him the ideal choice for this vital leadership role.  … I cannot let this moment pass without acknowledging the historic and continuing contributions that Zarin Mehta has made over his 12-year tenure.” A native of St. Louis, Missouri, VanBesien earned a bachelor of music degree in French horn performance from Indiana University, and was second French horn in the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans from 1992 to 2000. In the 2001–02 season he completed the League of American Orchestras’ 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.

Posted January 4, 2012


Photo of Matthew VanBesien by James Penlidis