Kim Noltemy, Orchestra Veteran, Is Tapped to Lead L.A. Philharmonic

Kim Noltemy, Orchestra Veteran, Is Tapped to Lead L.A. Philharmonic

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s history of inventive programming and strong finances have made it the envy of orchestras around the United States.

But recently, the ensemble has been going through a period of abrupt change. Chad Smith, the ensemble’s former president and chief executive, left last year to run the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Gustavo Dudamel, its celebrated music and artistic director, will depart for the New York Philharmonic in 2026.

On Wednesday, though, the orchestra said it had found a leader who can help put it back on track. Kim Noltemy, a veteran administrator, will become the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s next president and chief executive, starting in July.

Thomas L. Beckmen, the chairman of the Philharmonic’s board of directors, said that Noltemy rose to the top of the list of candidates because of her experience. She has been the president and chief executive of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2018, and before that held leadership posts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“Of all the people we interviewed, she was the most prepared,” Beckmen said in an interview. “Sometimes, I thought she knew more about us than I knew about us.”

Noltemy said in a statement that she was drawn to the Philharmonic’s legacy of innovation, and that the ensemble was “once more poised for transformation.”

“A willingness to change and evolve,” she said, “is a core element of the L.A. Phil’s tremendous history and success.”

She will face several immediate challenges, including helping to find a successor to Dudamel, one of the world’s most in-demand maestros, who has led the ensemble since 2009.

Beckmen said that the search could take “a couple years more, or maybe longer,” but was confident that the orchestra could find someone who would be a draw like Dudamel.

“Dudamel is great, and so is the orchestra here in L.A., which is, if not the best, certainly at the top of the field,” he said. “That’s not going away.”

Asked whether the ensemble was interested in appointing a woman, Beckmen declined to comment. (Across the United States, women remain considerably underrepresented among music directors at top orchestras.)

“We’re looking for the best,” he said. “I would leave it there.”

Dudamel said in a statement on Wednesday that he looked forward to “welcoming Kim into our L.A. Phil family.”

“Our extraordinary musicians and organization have shown the world a powerful new vision for what an orchestra can be, and how it can impact the community around it,” he said. “I am confident we will continue to push ourselves to even greater heights in the years to come.”

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