A Heartfelt Farewell to One of the LA Phil’s Great Champions

The LA Phil bid farewell last month to Board Member Dudley Rauch, one of its most beloved leaders and longtime champions. A humble, unassuming figure with a keen intellect, Rauch quietly supported the LA Phil for more than five decades. Since joining the Board in 2002, Rauch helped usher in an era of revitalization for the LA Phil including the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall, the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel, and the hiring of Chief Executive Officer Simon Woods.

“Dudley had a profound impact on all corners of our institution — our Board, orchestra, and staff — every step of the way,” LA Phil Board Chair Jay Rasulo said of Rauch. “Dudley approached all he did with his whole heart and a profoundly generous spirit. He sought not only having a positive effect on the institutions he was involved with, but also — and more importantly — on the individuals at these institutions.”

Like his impact on the LA Phil, Rauch’s philanthropy was outsized. His investments in the LA Phil’s Centennial, which totaled more than $25 million, began more than seven years ago, when he and his wife Cecilia (who passed away in 2011), decided that they would commit a significant portion of their wealth to help secure the future of the LA Phil.

Rauch's journey to that monumental decision had been building from early in his life. Introduced to classical music from his father's record collection and from radio and then early television broadcasts, Rauch grew up surrounded by classical music. "Music was my solace, my refuge, it was really part of me," Rauch said in an interview several months before his passing.

Also, from his father, Rauch was introduced to the meaning of philanthropy. “We started out as $100 per-year annual donors to the Philharmonic. Other than five years when we were living in Alabama, I think we have an untarnished record of making annual gifts to the Philharmonic."

After making his commitment seven years ago to a putative campaign, Rauch then played a role in convincing the LA Phil's Board to join him in mounting a significant Centennial fundraising effort.

"When you make a financial commitment to any organization, you are essentially voting your values, and at the Philharmonic, the values here are right, in my opinion," Rauch said. "We are not just preserving orchestral music, but we are making the Hollywood Bowl a better, more welcoming place, we are voting for the values that Gustavo has brought to us about youth education."

Of his legacy, Rauch spoke with his trademark humility and earnestness: "When I pass this earth, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I've helped in a small way to make the Phil what it is today, along with lots of other people."

Rauch is survived by his second wife Michele (pictured with him above at the LA Phil's 2017 Gala), his daughter, and a community of millions of music lovers across Southern California who will continue to benefit from his tremendous generosity. 

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