Ernest Fleischmann | Led L.A. Philharmonic, 85

Posted: June 18, 2010

Ernest Fleischmann, 85, the imperious impresario who ran the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly three decades, helping to elevate its stature to that of an orchestra of the first rank, died Sunday in Los Angeles.

Mr. Fleischmann became executive director of the Philharmonic in 1969, moving to Los Angeles from London, where he had been general manager of the London Symphony. His title changed in 1988 to executive vice president and managing director. He left in 1998.

When he arrived, the conductor Zubin Mehta was presiding over an underpaid and undervalued collection of promising musicians playing in an undistinguished concert hall. Within a few years, salaries more than doubled, the orchestra was on firm financial footing, and a popular preconcert lecture series had begun.

In his 29-year tenure, he revitalized the programming and extended the orchestra's summer season at the Hollywood Bowl. And after Lillian Disney, Walt's wife, pledged $50 million to build a state-of-the-art concert hall in Los Angeles in 1987, Mr. Fleischmann, along with the architect Frank Gehry, fought to bring the project to fruition. It finally opened in 2003.

- N.Y. Times News Service

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