Rachel Moore of ABT named LA Music Center’s next president and CEO – Los Angeles Times

Rachel Moore, a former dancer and the longtime top business executive of New York’s American Ballet Theatre, will be the next president and CEO of the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Meeting Wednesday, the Music Center’s board confirmed Moore as its next president. She replaces Stephen Rountree, who resigned in December after 13 years.

Moore, who’ll start the job Oct. 5, is the first Music Center president who has run a major performance company, as opposed to having managed arts venues. She’s also the first who has been a professional performing artist, having spent four years during her early 20s as a member of ABT’s corps de ballet.

After an ankle injury at 24 ended her dream of rising from the ballet corps to soloist, she rebounded by studying arts management.

She takes over a performing arts hub that’s in need of a rebound itself.

“A fully articulated vision is not something I can put forward right now, but my big-picture idea is that the Music Center serve as the heart of downtown, the heart of Los Angeles,” Moore said in an interview from the Metropolitan Opera house, ABT’s main hometown venue when not on tour. “The prospect of doing this kind of work is very exciting to me, and I am honored to be given the chance.”

Lisa Specht, who chairs the Music Center’s board, said Moore was its first choice among four finalists interviewed this spring.

“I didn’t think we’d ever find anybody this good,” Specht said. “She really understands the arts and how to communicate with people in the arts. What comes across with Rachel is that she has so much energy and drive. She’s a strategist and a creative force. I don’t think you find that combination anywhere. I think we lucked out.”

Moore, 50, is a California native who grew up in Davis, the daughter of an agriculture professor at UC Davis. She said she prides herself on being able to “demystify” the arts for prospective donors from the business community and vice versa.

“Having been a performer as well as an executive, I see myself as a bridge between the artistic community and the business community,” she said. “I speak both languages, and I can do some translating.”

A key challenge for Moore, who has a five-year contract at a salary she and Specht declined to disclose, will be speaking persuasively to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The Music Center hopes county government will fund a large chunk of the cost of long-deferred renovations to its oldest venue, the 51-year-old Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The project is estimated at $350 million.


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