Music Center Names Kent Kresa As New Board Chair Succeeding Long-Time Chair John B. Emerson

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The Music Center has elected a major business executive and long-time supporter of the arts to be its new chairman of the board, effective July 1, 2011, when current chair, John B. Emerson, steps down from that role following eight years of service.

The Board of Directors of the Music Center has elected Kent Kresa to the position of chairman of the board of directors, effective July 1, 2011. Kresa, who previously served on the Music Center board from 1993-2006, including a role as vice chair for six years, has most recently been associated with the Music Center Foundation’s Board, which manages endowment for the Music Center and its resident companies. Kresa will succeed John B. Emerson, who, at the end of June, will step down from his role as chairman, following eight years of service.

Kresa was chairman, president and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation from 1990-2003. Under his leadership, Forbes magazine named Northrop Grumman “Company of the Year” (December 2002). Most recently, he was interim chairman of General Motors Corporation during the company’s transition through bankruptcy.

“Over the past eight years, I have had the true privilege of collaborating with my colleagues on the Music Center’s board and with the leaders of our resident companies as we worked to ensure that the greater Los Angeles community has had access to the most dynamic, diverse and creative performing arts experiences,” said John B. Emerson. “Given his deep commitment to this organization and to the arts in our community, I know Kent will not only see that the Music Center remains a major contributor to our civic and cultural vitality, but ensure that it continues on its significant growth trajectory.”

During Emerson’s eight years as chairman, he oversaw the opening of the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and led a $30 million effort for the renovation of the Mark Taper Forum. He also strengthened the Music Center's role as a presenting organization as it made a significant commitment to dance programming in 2004, and he helped secure a $20 million gift from the Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation to provide core support for Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center. This is the single largest gift in Los Angeles dance history. Emerson strongly advocated for the development of Active Arts® at the Music Center, giving anyone in the community the opportunity to participate in and experience the performing arts in a highly interactive way. This program is seen by other performing arts institutions as a model for participatory arts. Emerson is widely credited with leading a new era of collaboration among the Music Center and its resident companies, the LA Phil, LA Opera, Center Theatre Group and Los Angeles Master Chorale.

“It is an honor to return and lead the Music Center board,” Kresa said. “Under John Emerson’s leadership, the Music Center has grown to meet the needs of the community by adding dynamic experiences for all of us to enjoy the performing arts in new ways. I look forward to continuing John’s tremendous work as we create even more ways to engage, delight and inspire all those who experience performances at our Music Center. I am committed to widening both the Music Center’s audiences and financial support in the years ahead.”

Kresa adds this role to a list of other high-profile positions in which he serves, including chairman of the board of the California Institute of Technology, and the boards of Fluor, MannKind Corporation and the Trust Company of the West; the W.M. Keck, Broad and Haynes Foundations; and other non-profit organizations and universities. Kresa is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Kresa and his wife, Joyce Kresa, are passionate supporters of the arts. She serves on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Directors as well as the Music Center Board of Directors.

About the Music Center
As one of the top performing arts centers in the world, the Music Center is committed to strengthening community through the arts. Set in the heart of Los Angeles’ downtown cultural district and home to four internationally renowned resident companies – LA Phil, LA Opera, Center Theatre Group and Los Angeles Master Chorale – and the celebrated Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, the Music Center offers the most compelling, highest quality engagements. In its effort to extend the reach and accessibility of the performing arts, the Music Center is a national model for experiences in which people participate directly through its Active Arts® at the Music Center. The Music Center also presents special productions, events and festivals for children and families, including World City at the Music Center, and plays a leadership role in advocating for and directly providing arts education in schools throughout the County. The Music Center boasts four venues – the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall – as well as a vibrant collection of outdoor theatres, plazas and gardens. For more information, please visit

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Bonnie Goodman
Music Center
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