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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Names Dana Newman President And Adds Four To Board Of Directors

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, one of the nation’s leading orchestras renowned for its wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissioning initiatives, has named attorney Dana Newman President of the Board of Directors, announced LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine. The Altadena resident succeeds Gene Shutler, who assumes the role of Chairman of the Board after completing a three-year term as President. Fine also announced the appointment of four new board members to three-year terms: Ahsan Aijaz (Los Angeles), vice president, Fortress Investment Group; Leslie Lassiter (Beverly Hills), Los Angeles market manager, J.P. Morgan Private Bank; Raulee Marcus (Long Beach), president, Pinnacle Management; and attorney Shaheen Nanji (Pacific Palisades), principal, Integrated Technologies Group and community leader.

“Dana Newman’s visionary and inspiring leadership, commitment to LACO, exceptional business skills and proven accomplishments as a community builder and immense passion for music and the arts will help propel the Orchestra forward as we look to its 50th anniversary and beyond,” says Fine. “We are also most grateful to Gene Shutler for his outstanding guidance. During his tenure as President, he helped LACO successfully navigate our country’s challenging economic times while ensuring the Orchestra thrived financially as well as artistically. We deeply appreciate that he will remain on the Board as Chairman. Additionally, we welcome Ahsan Aijaz, Leslie Lassiter, Raulee Marcus and Shaheen Nanji to the Board. With their forward-thinking leadership and keen business acumen, they will be wonderful ambassadors for LACO.”

Newman is a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, based in Pillsbury’s downtown Los Angeles office. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she earned her undergraduate degree at Yale University, a Masters in Tax from the University of New Haven, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall). She practices tax, partnership, real estate and tax-exempt finance law, with an emphasis on advising domestic and foreign clients on tax aspects of US partnership, corporate and real property transactions. She represents clients in a broad array of industries and activities, including projects qualifying for various federal and state tax credit programs, real estate investment and development, manufacturing, food services, aviation and development funds. During her long career with Pillsbury, Newman has served in a variety of management positions with the firm. A long-time supporter and advocate of pro bono work, Newman has recently been named as the Chair of Pillsbury’s Pro Bono Committee. Newman’s personal pro bono efforts have involved providing significant pro bono legal services to a number of nonprofit corporations developing affordable housing in Los Angeles, including representation of Ward Economic Development Corporation as one of the developers of the Rosa Parks Villas Project, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance as one of the developers of the New Hampshire Family Housing Project, and Pacific Housing Alliance as the developer of the Euclid Villa Project in Pasadena. Over the years, she has also provided pro bono assistance for a variety of other nonprofits, including Five Acres, Union Station, Southern California Presbyterian Homes, Westminster Gardens and the Pasadena Presbyterian Church Foundation. Newman has received recognition and awards for her efforts from the California State Bar, Public Counsel and many of her pro bono clients. Newman and her husband, Ned, are one of the sponsors of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church’s Friends of Music concerts. Long-time LACO subscribers, they are devoted fans of Baroque Conversations, enthusiastic First Chair Society members and gala patrons, and supporters of Sound Investment since 2005.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2014-15 season, the Orchestra’s 46th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established as well as notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 18th season as LACO’s music director.

AHSAN AIJAZ is a Vice President of the Credit Funds at Fortress Investment Group. As a former investment banker, Aijaz provided strategic advisory services and structured multimillion-dollar bond financings for companies such as ABB Inc, Baker Hughes Inc., Borders Group Inc., Eli Lilly Inc., General Electric, Hy-Vee Inc., Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, Tyco International, V.F. Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Prior to joining Fortress, Aijaz ran the Structured Finance Group at a private equity firm in Los Angeles. Prior to that he started and ran the Corporate Finance Investment Banking practice for Butler, Wick & Co., Inc., now a division of Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Aijaz began his career at McDonald Investment Inc., a division of Key Bank, as an investment banker. He holds a BS in Finance from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, where he served as a research assistant on a paper titled “The Determinants of Credit Spread Changes,” published in the Journal of Finance, Vol. 56, No. 6. He is a member of the Corporate Treasurer’s Council of the Association for Financial Professionals and ICSC, the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Aijaz has also served on the Advisory Board of Real Medicine Foundation, a humanitarian relief organization founded in response to the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. He is an accomplished pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

LESLIE LASSITER is a managing director and market manager for J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank business in Southern California. A veteran banker, Lassiter joined Chase Manhattan Bank in 1979. During her more than 30 years with the firm, she has held a number of senior leadership positions in both the Investment Bank and the Private Bank. She joined the Private Banking business in 2000. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Lassiter managed a significant portion of the Private Bank’s New York City business as the market manager for the New York metro area. Previously, she led the strategic planning office for Chase Manhattan’s wholesale business and prior to that, she managed corporate finance efforts for the Investment Bank’s Latin American region. Lassiter earned a bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics from Scripps College and a MBA from the University of Chicago. She has served on the Board of Trustees of Scripps College since 2000 and currently chairs the Institutional Advancement Committee of the Board. In 2013, she joined the board of the United Way of Los Angeles. An avid arts lover, she is a former board member of Jacaranda Music and jointly sponsored the appearances of Jennifer Koh and Jeremy Denk on LACO’s 2013-14 concert season.

Named “one of ten women entrepreneurs changing the game in LA” by Forbes magazine, president of marketing consultancy Pinnacle Management RAULEE MARCUS is a specialist in driving companies to significant growth in revenue and profit in highly competitive industries. Her professional experience ranges from senior operating positions in major corporations such as Neutrogena and Colgate-Palmolive to consulting for cutting-edge startups and advising the governments of India and China. She has served as the chair of the consumer products panel of Tech Coast Angels, the nation’s largest angel investor organization. A native of Frankfort, KY, Marcus is an alumna of Bryn Mawr College and the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy. While at Neutrogena, she also completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. An avid ceramics hobbyist, Marcus serves on the board and executive committee of the American Museum of Ceramic Arts. Other involvement in the nonprofit arts community includes past and present membership on the boards of the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Jacaranda Music and Long Beach Opera. She is also a member of the board of overseers of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the board of governors of the Ojai Music Festival.

With degrees in law and business from the University of British Columbia, SHAHEEN NANJI has practiced civil litigation, worked as corporate counsel and marketing director for Magnet Sales & Manufacturing and, since 2000, has served as principal for Integrated Technologies Group where she heads up human resources. In addition, as a community leader, Nanji has served on the boards of Artwallah, a multi-disciplinary festival of arts of the South Asian diaspora, and the UCLA Academy for Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies. For more than a decade, she has also been deeply involved with the Aga Khan Foundation and Aga Khan Development Network, which address environmental, economic, health, educational, humanitarian and cultural challenges in Asia and Africa. Nanji has served as an AKDN communications coordinator and spokesperson in the Western Region; directed public relations for the Aga Khan Foundation Partnership Walk; and raised funds for AKF early childhood development programs. Fluent in seven languages, Nanji has a range of passions that include creative writing and promoting multiculturalism and interfaith dialogue through community outreach and events. She and husband, Anil, hosted LACO’s March 2014 First Chair musicale at their home in Pacific Palisades.

LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International and “resplendent” by the Los Angeles Times, has established itself among the world’s top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as “visionary” and “a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity” with “undeniable charisma,” “effortless musicality and extraordinary communicative gifts.” Under Kahane’s leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 46-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents its Orchestral Series on Saturdays at Glendale’s Alex Theatre and on Sundays at UCLA’s Royce Hall; Baroque Conversations at downtown Los Angeles’ Zipper Concert Hall; Westside Connections chamber music series, designed to illustrate the relationship between music and other artistic disciplines, at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica; and an annual Discover concert, which features an in-depth examination that sheds new light on a single piece of music, at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. LACO also presents a Concert Gala, an annual Silent Film screening and several fundraising salons each year. Additionally, LACO outreach programs, Meet the Music, Community Partners, Campus to Concert Hall and the LACO/USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program, reach thousands of young people annually, nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music. 

SESSION

Set in out of the ordinary locales, SESSION is a unique experience where LACO musicians join forces with compelling composers. Each program is designed to fit the unique properties of a space and test ideas about the relationship between performers and audience.

Sound Investment

Meet the composer, hear excerpts of the score-in-progress and attend a full orchestral rehearsal of the completed work.