- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Philharmonic has named a new executive director to tackle huge financial shortfalls at the nation’s oldest orchestra.

Orchestra officials announced Wednesday that Matthew VanBesien (van-BEE’-zen) will succeed Zarin Mehta (MAY’-tuh) as the Philharmonic’s top administrator.

The 42-year-old Missouri native is currently the managing director of Australia’s Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. VanBesien started his music career playing French horn for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mehta, brother of conductor Zubin Mehta (ZOO’-bihn MAY’-tuh), will retire at the end of the season as the Philharmonic’s top executive.

The orchestra founded in 1842 faces $24 million in unfunded pension liabilities, recurring deficits topping $1 million and the renovation of its artistic home, Avery Fisher Hall.

VanBesien is credited with reversing the financial fortunes of the Houston Symphony several years ago as its chief administrator.

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