Posted 11/26/2014 02:40PM

The Colburn Orchestra will perform a program of Neilsen, Strauss, and Sibelius under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Yehuda Gilad on December 6. This is the orchestra's last performance of 2014 at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.

Soprano Summer Hassan will join them for to perform of Richard Strauss's final compositions, Four Last Songs. With text drawn from reflective poems by Joseph von Eichendorff and Hermann Hesse, the song cycle celebrates Strauss's dual loves of the symphony orchestra and the soprano voice.

Nielson's Overture to Maskarade and Sibelius's Symphony No. 2 have developed reputations as symbols of the composers' home nations; the Sibelius has become known as the "Symphony of Independence" for Finland, while Maskarade is considered the national operatic work of Denmark. Both pieces premiered in the first decade of the 20th century. Visit this link for tickets.

Posted 11/26/2014 02:38PM

Composer Eric Tanguy has become one of the most widely performed and broadcast composers of our time. On December 7, Mr. Tanguy will hear students of the Colburn Music Academy and Colburn Community School of Performing Arts perform his work when he visits the Kreston/Picken Colburn School performance class.

Mr. Tanguy teaches composition at the Conservatoire Paul Dukas in Paris. He was educated at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where he studied with Ivo Malec, Gérard Grisey, and Betsy Jolas.

"Eric is an exceptional composer," Ms. Kreston said. "Since he himself is a violinist, his work feels to me to be particularly well suited for the instrument, so our class is really fortunate to be able to learn from him in person."

Among Mr. Tanguy's compositions are many pieces for featuring violin, including the stand out Sonata breve for solo violin. Three of Ms. Kreston's students, Geneva Lewis, Sarah Kuo, and Hao Zhao will each perform one movement of that work. Mr. Tanguy has already worked with the three students on the sonata; afterward, he will speak to the class and audience about his work.

Ms. Kreston teaches in both the community school and the music academy. She welcomes other Colburn School students and parents to join them for this unique conversation. The student performance will begin at 11 am in Mayman Recital Hall on December 7.

Posted 11/26/2014 02:37PM

Ron Carter, the most frequently recorded jazz bassist of all time, will join jazz students from the Community School of Performing Arts on December 6 for a discussion about his life and career. Mr. Carter published his memoir, Finding the Right Notes, in November.

Mr. Carter has more than 2,000 albums to his credit and remains a very active live performer of music. His recordings include performances with Gil Evans, Lena Horne, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, and many other lauded musicians. Mr. Carter received two Grammy awards and was hailed as the "outstanding bassist of the decade" (Detroit News), "jazz bassist of the year" (DownBeat magazine), and "most valuable player" (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was recently named by the French government a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, a high honor given only to those who have distinguished themselves through to the arts in France and the world.

"I think that the bassist is the quarterback in any group," Mr. Carter has said, "and he must find a sound that he is willing to be responsible for."

In addition to his remarkable performance career, Mr. Carter is a highly regarded teacher. He was previously the artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies and served for 18 years on the faculty of the music department at the City College of New York.

"It's a truly unique opportunity for our students to sit down and talk with someone like Ron Carter, who has participated first hand in so much of contemporary jazz history," said Sara Hiner, assistant dean of the Community School of Performing Arts. "We're honored to have him with us."

Posted 11/21/2014 02:28PM


As we make our way into the buzz of the holiday season, the Colburn School thanks you for being part of our family this year. Whether you took a course with us, enrolled your child in private lessons or group classes, or attended concerts by our students, you showed us the performing arts are essential in our lives, and for that we are very grateful.

"On behalf of the Colburn School's students, faculty, and staff, I thank you for supporting the Colburn School," said President and CEO Sel Kardan. "Everyone with a passion for music, dance, and drama has a place at the Colburn School and we're so glad you've found yours."

As a token of our appreciation, the Colburn School will give a pair of complimentary tickets for the December 6 Colburn Orchestra concert at the Ambassador Auditorium to the first 50 people to email communications@colburnschool.edu and request the discount code. Complimentary tickets can then be reserved directly from our website. This offer closes Wednesday, November 26, at 5 pm.

Posted 11/21/2014 02:27PM


About 30 students experienced their very first Thanksgiving dinner at the Colburn School last year, thanks to Residential Life staff members Annie Bosler and John Hanpadungvongs.

"Some students can't travel home for the holiday, so we host a big meal for them here on campus," Annie said. "We create a big U-shaped seating area in the Colburn Café and serve traditional Thanksgiving food so everyone gets a taste of the holiday."

To give international students context, Annie sends out an email a few days before the dinner with information explaining the history of Thanksgiving and why Americans celebrate it the way we do. Dylan Hart, Annie's husband and Colburn Community School of Performing Arts alumnus, takes turkey carving duty for the meal. Annie and John order enough food so that students can enjoy leftovers the following day, understanding this, too, is part of the tradition.

Many teachers and local friends invite students to dinner at their own home, so the on-campus dinner happens early in the day. John has co-hosted the event for the last six years. "It's become an important tradition for the students who make Colburn their home away from home," he said. "Annually, we have 50-60 students eat with us."

"The holidays can be a tough time especially when a student's family is far away," Annie said. "We started the Colburn family Thanksgiving eight years ago when the residence hall opened. It is one of my favorite events that we host."

Posted 11/21/2014 02:19PM


On December 6, soprano Summer Hassan will join Music Director Yehuda Gilad and the conservatory students of the Colburn Orchestra on stage at the Ambassador Auditorium. This will be Ms. Hassan's second time working with conservatory students. As a participant in LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Ms. Hassan and some of her colleagues came together with conservatory musicians earlier this month to workshop excerpts from Mozart's The Magic Flute and The Abduction from the Seraglio, the culmination of a weeklong collaboration here at the Colburn School.

The focus of that workshop was two vibrant operas from the late 18th century, but when Ms. Hassan steps on stage alone with the Colburn Orchestra, she'll sing the autumnal Four Last Songs, written by Richard Strauss just a year before his death in 1949. It's poignant music, a lasting swan song by an illustrious composer whose career was as controversial as it was remarkable.

"I am truly honored to be performing such honest music with such an honest group of musicians," Ms. Hassan said. "I feel like everyone involved with this project is here to tell their personal story through music, and I cannot think of a better set of songs to help do that."

The December 6 concert won't be her last appearance with Colburn musicians. She also performs Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Colburn Orchestra on March 8.

Posted 11/21/2014 02:17PM


The tradition of the conductorless orchestra stretches back to the very beginning of symphony history. The earliest orchestras were led by a concertmaster, often the harpsichordist or violinist, who initiated the ensemble's performances. Composers served as the earliest conductors, but the role evolved over time into the professional music director common today.

The Music Academy's string ensemble of talented pre-college musicians, the Academy Virtuosi, is a continuation of the orchestra's earliest heritage. Like those early orchestras, though, the Academy Virtuosi work with a professional concertmaster, Margaret Batjer of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, who guides them in a coaching role through the special challenges of conductorless performance. "They have to learn to use their ears in a very sophisticated way," Ms. Batjer said. "Each member of the section from first to last chair has a much greater responsibility than when there is a conductor."

For the Academy Virtuosi, the opportunity to play under these circumstances is both empowering and educational. "It's a rare opportunity for students their age to play in an orchestra without a conductor," said Ory Shihor, dean of the Music Academy. "I don't know of many programs where young musicians get to perform this way."

Ms. Batjer draws from expertise gleaned from her mentors when she was a student and the wealth of experience developed at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. "I have worked with the students over the past 10 weeks on this program," she said. "Aubree, from the Concertmaster chair, as well as the other principals, have learned to lead the ensemble themselves physically and also musically by example. They have come so far in terms of understanding the nature of a conductorless ensemble as well as growing musically and technically with the program."

The Academy Virtuosi performance on Tuesday, November 25 will include selections from Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Elgar, and Bartók. "Working with young musicians is one of my greatest passions," Ms. Batjer said. "Although I only began my work with the Virtuosi this year, I have seen such growth in all of them individually and collectively. I have enjoyed working with all of them very much."

Visit our website for more information on this event.

Posted 11/17/2014 10:22AM


The Colburn School congratulates all our students who participated in this weekend's Pasadena House for the Arts Instrumental Competition. The annual event drew young musicians from across Southern California.

We are proud to recognize the following students for their outstanding achievements this year.

Grand Prize - $6,000

Cristina Mateo Saez, 19, clarinet, student of Yehuda GIlad

1st Place – Woodwinds - $4,000

Riria Niimura, 20, flute, student of James Walker

Tied for 2nd Place – Brass - $2,500

Julian Zheng, 21, French horn, student of Andrew Bain (tied with UCLA Bass Trombone student Cameron Rahmani, 20)

Most Promising Talent Award - $1,500

Charles Seo, 19, cello, student of Ronald Leonard

Honorable Mentions - $500

Usha Kapoor, 20, Strings/violin, student of Robert Lipsett

Signe Somer, 23, Woodwinds/clarinet, student of Yehuda Gilad

Kyle Kremer, 24, Brass/trumpet, student of James Wilt

Visit our website for more information on the Pasadena House for the Arts Instrumental Competition.

Posted 11/13/2014 03:58PM


Elicia Silverstein and her performance partner Daniel Walden are on a mission to challenge the conventional concert program. Ms. Silverstein, a violinist and graduate of Colburn's conservatory, and Mr. Walden, a pianist and harpsichordist, have created a unique approach to presenting both classical and contemporary work in the same performance.

Their current work draws connections between the experimental work of the 17th century, performed on historical instruments, and avant-garde Italian music from the late 20th century, played on modern instruments. "The pairing is not random," Ms. Silverstein said. "In the early part of the 20th century in Italy, partially as a result of Mussolini's nationalistic fascism, contemporary composers were strongly encouraged to look back at earlier Italian musical traditions from the Renaissance and early Baroque periods for inspiration."

Both Ms. Silverstein and Mr. Walden feel equally at home in the Baroque and contemporary pieces, which makes them uniquely adept at navigating both period instruments and modern instruments. "In weaving together these two distant but deeply interconnected musical worlds, a beautiful dialogue emerges that dissolves any distinction between what sounds 'old' and what sounds 'new,'" she said.

Ms. Silverstein's time at the conservatory was essential preparation for her ongoing career as an international performer. "I came to Colburn right after finishing high school in New York City to study with Mr. Lipsett," she said. "I was immediately blown away by his teaching and by the school. Colburn is unlike any other conservatory I know of in its adamant support of its students."

As part of their visit to Los Angeles, Ms. Silverstein will present a Baroque lecture-demonstration master class in Thayer Hall on Friday, November 21, as well as a full recital, "Stylus Phantasticus /Avanguardia," that evening. Both events take place in Thayer Hall, and are free and open to the public.

Posted 11/13/2014 03:32PM


After seven years of study on the violin, Kurt Muroki transitioned to double bass. Though he was only 13 years old at the time, the choice would lead him down a largely untrodden path, forging a career on the instrument focused primarily on chamber music.

Mr. Muroki studied double bass under Homer R. Mensch at The Juilliard School, then went on to perform with the internationally renowned Sejong Soloists, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and New York City Ballet, among many others, and took first prize in the Aspen Music Festival Double Bass Competition. Mr. Muroki was also the first bassist to win the New World Symphony Concerto Competition.

An inspiring moment with bassist Alois Posch at the Pacific Music Festival changed Mr. Muroki's perspective on how he saw his work. After taking a chamber music master class with Mr. Posch, Mr. Muroki had an epiphany. "I knew that I wanted to be a musician, not just a bass player. Being a musician, for me, encompasses everything: sound, technique—everything," he said.

Mr. Muroki's career has included opportunities to play with some of the world's most lauded orchestras and chamber orchestras as well as unexpected turns into film music and popular music. "If your goal is to be a musician, you remove the limitations the instrument has and replace them with your vision of what the music should be," he said, and his career is a living testimony to that philosophy.

For his visit to the Colburn School, Mr. Muroki will give two master classes. The first, for conservatory students, will be November 22 at 6:30 pm, with a second class for community school students held November 23 at 10:30 am. Visit our calendar for more information on these events.

Posted 11/13/2014 03:30PM


Though Gibson Dunn had been contributing financially to the Colburn School for many years, Peter Wardle hoped the law firm could start doing something with more impact when he joined Colburn's Board of Directors five years ago. After conferring with Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan, Mr. Wardle and Gibson Dunn partner David West (now retired) agreed a free concert at the end of the workday would yield the greatest benefit for the downtown Los Angeles community.

"I'd been involved with classical music since first grade, and I played orchestral instruments all through high school and college," Mr. Wardle recalled. "As a lawyer, I don't have the opportunity to be creative in those same ways anymore, so it's been amazing to be part of the Colburn School and to be around classical music again."

Rush Hour concerts, which are free and open the public, happen almost every month during the academic year and feature different performers from one of the Colburn School's units. November's "Autumn Winds" program on November 20 will be performed by students from the Colburn Conservatory of Music.

Each concert opens with a casual reception featuring wine and light hors d'oeuvres, giving attendees an opportunity to relax together before heading in to listen to an hour-long program of music.

"I've never walked away from a performance at the Colburn School without feeling proud and impressed," Mr. Wardle said. When it comes to the Rush Hour concert series, his joy includes sharing the concert experience with friends, colleagues, and new attendees. "It's gratifying to see the reaction of people experiencing the Colburn School for the first time. They're so thrilled to know this school is here, and that it's doing such phenomenal work."

Visit this link for more information on November 20's Gibson Dunn Rush Hour" or to reserve your seat.

Posted 11/10/2014 12:15PM

Aspiring college-aged musicians seeking the most rigorous instrumental music performance training should apply to the Colburn Conservatory of Music by December 1.

The conservatory is unique among music training programs because it provides full financial scholarships to every student. Rather than worrying about paying tuition, room, and board, Colburn's conservatory students can keep their focus on their musical training and the more than 150 performance opportunities coordinated by the school.

"The conservatory is dedicated to helping each individual student fulfill his or her full potential," said Conservatory of Music Dean Richard Beene. "Our philosophy is entirely student-first. We want to create leaders and global citizens as well as the finest musicians."

Admission to the conservatory is highly selective and requires an audition on top of the formal application. Since its opening in 2003, the Colburn Conservatory of Music has become one of the nation's leading conservatories. Click here for more information or to submit an application.

Posted 11/10/2014 12:14PM


The Colburn School will welcome the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition on Saturday, November 15. The annual event recognizes excellence by string, woodwind, and brass musicians ages 16-24 who live or attend school in Southern California.

Musicians perform their best rendition of the required repertoire before a panel of judges, made of up seasoned musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. In last year's competition, current students and alumni of Colburn performed well, winning top prizes. Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, which coordinates the competition, has awarded over $550,000 in prizes since the program began in 1985. Cash prizes for the November 15 competition total up to $30,000, with awards to individual musicians ranging from $500 to $6,000.

"Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts delights in rewarding the efforts of young musicians who excel in their area of study and can demonstrate their talent and progress," said Suzanne Hart, this year's Instrumental Competition Chair. "This competition is a result of the hard work of our all-volunteer organization, its members, judges, instructors, and schools all in collaboration. Exposing young students to the act of musical competition enables and inspires them to grow musically and personally. It gives us such pleasure to help our community in this way."

The Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition is free and open to the public. Performances begin at 11:00 am on November 15 in Thayer Hall. For more information, click here.


Posted 11/10/2014 12:08PM


The Colburn Community School's Colburn Youth Orchestra and Colburn Chamber Orchestra, both directed by Maxim Eshkenazy, will perform on Sunday, November 16 in Zipper Hall.

The Chamber Orchestra and Youth Orchestra members are selected through competitive auditions each year. Every musician is a community school student between the ages of 13 and 18. Both ensembles perform standard symphonic literature as well as newly commissioned works and arrangements.

The Chamber Orchestra's afternoon performance focuses on Viennese classical music. The program includes Mozart's Divertimento for Strings in D Major and Schoenberg's moving Verklärte Nacht, based on Richard Dehmel's poem of the same name. "These are essential Viennese pieces," said Mr. Eshkenazy. "The Schoenberg is actually a kind of borderline between two classical worlds, the Romantic and the Modern—it is the last breath of Romantic music in Europe." Their performance begins at 4 pm.

The Youth Orchestra's 7:30 pm performance focuses on colorful Eastern European selections. Staynov's Thracian Dances and Bartók's Romanian Folk Dances are made up of brief segments drawn from different areas of Bulgaria and Romania, respectively. "These pieces feature strange rhythmic patterns that are interesting to listen to," Mr. Eshkenazy said. The program will also feature Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Suite, a piece made familiar in America in the work of Walt Disney.

Mr. Eshkenazy stressed the exceptional skills of his teen musicians. "These are core classical pieces. All of this music is difficult for adults to play—they are not playing watered down versions for young musicians. And they are playing these pieces extremely well."

Both concerts are free and open to the public.

Click here for more information about the Colburn Youth Orchestra performance and here for more information about the Colburn Chamber Orchestra performance.

Posted 11/03/2014 05:23PM

The Community School's performance series usually features students on stage as they demonstrate the skill and expertise honed in classes with esteemed faculty. But on November 7, the roles reverse when faculty take the stage to perform for their students, students' families, and community members as part of the Faculty Showcase Recital.

"Community school faculty are dedicated teachers and exceptional musicians," said Community School Dean Robert McAllister. "We look forward to the Faculty Showcase Recital as a way to honor our students and supporters with a program tailor made for them by their mentors."

Fifteen community school faculty representing both vocal and instrumental instruction will participate in the recital, along with four special guests: Sidney Hopson (timpani), Colburn Conservatory alumna Jennifer Johnson (oboe), conservatory staff accompanist Yi-Ju Lai (piano), and Jeffrey Schindler (harpsichord). The program includes both classical and contemporary works by Marcello, Delibes, Grieg, Doug Bristol, Rachmaninoff, Poulenc, and more.

All attendees are invited to attend a reception in the Colburn Café following the performance.

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