Jean Davidson

President & CEO

Jean Davidson
Jean Davidson was appointed president & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2015. Prior positions include founding chief executive of New York Live Arts; chief executive of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company; and founding managing director of the Silk Road Project, Yo-Yo Ma, Artistic Director. During her career she has helped produce more than 200 new productions in music, theater, and dance.

In 2020, a new strategic plan was adopted by the Los Angeles Master Chorale Board of Directors to support Davidson and Artistic Director Grant Gershon’s vision for the Master Chorale. The four pillars of the plan are to sharpen focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access; increase participation in choral music; ensure continued artistic success; and achieve greater financial stability.

From 2015–2019, the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s budget grew by over 50%, driven by increased contributed revenue and earned revenue generated through new international touring. In 2016, Davidson instigated a successful re-branding and re-positioning of the organization to uphold and fulfill the organization’s core values while also encouraging artistic daring and audience engagement.

In 2011, as chief executive of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company, she led the merger discussions with Dance Theater Workshop—including a multi-million-dollar campaign—to form New York Live Arts, a 20,000 square foot center for interdisciplinary performance located in Chelsea, New York City. The merger was a case study at New York University’s Steinhardt School in 2011 and at Yale University’s School of Management in 2013. She subsequently served as the founding CEO of New York Live Arts until 2015.

Davidson was appointed the founding managing director of the Silk Road Project in 2001. While at the Silk Road Project she was involved with producing the expansive Smithsonian Folklife Festival Connecting Culture, Creating Trust and in planning the Silk Road Ensemble's participation in the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan. She has also been involved with producing several commercial recordings and documentary films with Sony Classical, Smithsonian Folkways, NHK, ARTE, and Kartemquin Films, and she has planned numerous tours, commissions, and collaborations.

A former professional lighting designer, Davidson has toured internationally with Yo-Yo Ma, and other musical and dance artists. A graduate of Oberlin College, Davidson studied theater, and began her career working for the American Dance Festival, Cleveland Play House, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), and others. She served as a lecturer at Oberlin College for five years, and currently serves as a guest lecturer on critical thinking at University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. She has guest taught at New York University’s Steinhardt School and Tisch School of the Arts, and the Università di Bologna arts management graduate program.

Photo by Marie Noorbergen/Tao Ruspoli.