Poster Deborah Borda
Deborah Borda is the 2024 Classical Woman of the Year, as a selected by 'Performance Today.'
Dario Acosta
Performance Today®

2024 Classical Woman of the Year: Deborah Borda

Performance Today has selected performing-arts advocate Deborah Borda as the 2024 Classical Woman of the Year. This annual award recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the classical music art form and have inspired our listeners.

LISTEN Deborah Borda talks with 'Performance Today'

“Taking risks while remaining committed to the integrity of our art form has been at the core of my career,” Borda says. “My goal is to make a meaningful contribution to our field musically while always striving to find that magical intersection between the artistic and social imperative. My plan is to continue to mentor institutions and individuals toward the same goal. Thank you so much for the honor.”

Borda, a former professional violist, serves as executive adviser to the president and board of the New York Philharmonic and has been instrumental in shaping the orchestra's artistic vision. Previously, she held the position of CEO, spearheading groundbreaking initiatives, deepening connections with the community and reaching new audiences through innovative programming. In 2023, she was named Honorary Member of the Society for her outstanding service to the organization and the world of music.

Deborah Borda
Deborah Borda
Jürgen Frank

Her achievements extend beyond her role at the New York Philharmonic. She held leadership positions at esteemed organizations including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Her leadership has led to groundbreaking initiatives including Project 19, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) and the national Take a Stand initiative.

Borda also has been instrumental as a vocal advocate for women in music. She has championed gender equity in the classical music industry, working to break down barriers and create opportunities for female musicians, conductors and composers. Her dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity has had a lasting impact on the field, inspiring countless women to pursue careers in classical music.

She holds many honorary degrees, including ones from the Julliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music and New England Conservatory. She has been honored with the Gold Baton from the League of American Orchestras and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

“I’m thrilled that Deborah Borda is our 2024 Performance Today Classical Woman of the Year,” said Fred Child, host and senior editor of Performance Today. “Though much of her career has been behind-the-scenes, some of the most cherished aspects of today’s classical scene wouldn’t be what they are without her guiding spirit and determination. She combines the forward-thinking savvy and intelligent risk-taking of an entrepreneur with the passionate dedication of an artist. As a former violinist and violist, her administrative vision is driven by her devotion to music itself.

“She has created greater access to music for communities, families and individuals across the country. She has piloted the creation and renovation of some of the most important concert venues of our time. She has envisioned and brought into being some of the most fruitful artistic partnerships and collaborations of our era. She’s steadily laid the foundations for greater stability in several major classical music institutions, which means musicians can focus on making music, and audiences have reliably vibrant and meaningful concerts and events. It is with great pleasure that we recognize Deborah Borda with this well-deserved award.”

Borda was selected by the staff of Performance Today based on listener nominations, submitted in early March.

She will be recognized on the March 29 episode of Performance Today, including a conversation with Child about her extensive career and accomplishments.

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