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L.A. Phil's Borda and Bohnett to attend White House dinner

March 14, 2012 | 12:58 pm

L.A. Phil chairman and president attending White House dinner tonight

For David Bohnett, the technology entrepreneur, philanthropist and chairman of the L.A. Philharmonic, Wednesday is a big night. With his guest Deborah Borda, president and CEO of the L.A. Phil, he'll be attending a White House state dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron.

We hope Bohnett remembered to pack his tux, though this wonky blog post from Washington Post tells us this isn't technically a state dinner, which is reserved purely for heads of state (that would be Queen Elizabeth), but rather an official dinner. Either way, we remain impressed and jealous that Bohnett will be serenaded by a live performance from the PM-selected British folk group Mumford & Sons and Obama favorite John Legend.

The full guest list for the dinner -- which will be held in a tent Wednesday night on the South Lawn -- has yet to be revealed but a few invitees have gushed their exciting news to the press, including Damian Lewis from "Homeland" and Hugh Bonneville, the earl of Grantham from "Downton Abbey" fame. Bohnett, Borda and the other guests will be dining on a British-American menu, including the main course, Bison Wellington, made from buffalo tenderloin from North Dakota.

At first glance, Bohnett, who also serves as a Los Angeles County Museum of Art trustee, might not seem to demonstrate a particular tie between Britian and the U.S. but his invitation acknowledges a new partnership between the L.A. Phil and London's Barbican Centre, the largest performing arts complex in Europe. 

Starting next year, the L.A. Phil will become one of five new international associates with the Barbican, culminating with a residency that will present three concerts, including two European premieres that are co-commissions from both the Barbican and L.A. Phil: John Adams’ new oratorio "The Gospel According to the Other Mary," directed by Peter Sellars, and a new work by Unsuk Chin. According to the L.A. Phil, the residency will also include music education with public master classes, debates, talks and an international conference.

The Philharmonic has been been co-commissioning with the Barbican for more than a decade and has made the performing arts hub a regular tour stop since 2007. The orchestra has also worked extensively with other U.K. institutions, including the South Bank Centre and the Proms and Edinburgh festivals. The orchestra has been touring the U.K. since September 1974.


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Photo: L.A. Phil Chairman David Bohnett, left, and President Deborah Borda fete Gustavo Dudamel and his wife, Eloisa Maturen, during the 2009 Dudamel inaugural gala. Credit: Christina House / For The Times