Posted 12/15/2014 03:00PM


When Billy Childs and Larry Klein first met as students in the Community School of Performing Arts, they may not have imagined they'd one day collaborate on an album, much less one that earned them three 2015 Grammy Award nominations.

Conceived and orchestrated by Mr. Childs, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyrouses as its starting point the work of the late songwriter, then adds celebrated guests like Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Esperanza Spaulding, and others. The end result is both a masterful recasting of an existing songbook and a touching tribute to an artist who provided inspiration to Mr. Childs since childhood.

Larry Klein is a celebrated producer whose work with artists crosses genre lines to include Herbie Hancock, Pink, Tracy Chapman, Celine Dion, and Don Henley. He is also considered one of the premier bass players in the world and has performed on numerous scores and film soundtracks, beginning in 1980 with Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull. Mr. Klein is a proud parent of a current community school student.

"This is very exciting!"Mr. Childs posted to his fans on Facebook. "Firstly, I want to thank Larry Klein for his genius as a musician, producer, and collaborator, and for his partnership and vision on this project. And [I] thank all you friends out there for your support and friendship!"

Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyroreceived nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best American Roots Performance for "And When I Die" with Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas, and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for "New York Tendaberry" with Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma.

"The community school has been the artistic home to so many young people in Southern California for nearly sixty-five years," said Sara Hiner, assistant dean of the community school. "We are so proud of the successful and meaningful careers Mr. Childs and Mr. Klein, and so many of our alumni, have gone on to lead. Knowing the community school played such a pivotal role in the lives of two young artists, and that they were first brought together here, is so rewarding to us."

The 57thAnnual Grammy Awards will be televised from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 2015.

Posted 12/11/2014 02:32PM


Each winter, the community school's jazz program arranges recording sessions for its top performing ensembles. This year, the recording sessions will include the Monday Night Band, Thursday Night Band, and the Sunday Afternoon Band, all directed by Lee Secard. For the first time since its inception in the fall of 2010, the Colburn Jazz Workshop Big Band, led by Lee Secard and Assistant Director Dr. Walter Simonsen, will also be recorded.

These recordings serve not only for spring competition and festival consideration, but also as an educational opportunity for these young jazz artists and a form of documentation. "Jazz performance is a temporary art form," Mr. Secard said. "Each performance is unique, and will not be duplicated in the future. In order to document jazz music, it is necessary to record."

This is true for any live performance, but especially so for the art form of jazz. "As the community school's Colburn Jazz Workshop evolved, it became clear that we were enjoying some special talent and wonderful performances. As a result, we have developed a fine archive of these young artists performing at a high level," Mr. Secard added.

The students enrolled in these bands have earned an impressive number of awards and honors this year. Four of them received 2015 YoungArts Jazz Merit Awards, which recognize the most outstanding arts students between the ages of 15 and 18 from across the country. Musicians and ensembles have also been recognized by the national DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

Mr. Secard explained, "These sessions are especially exciting because all of the groups are recording original music. The small groups have reached the point where the bulk of our recorded repertoire consists of music composed and arranged by our students. We are very concerned with learning to function within traditional styles, along with the repertoires of the great jazz composers. However, we believe the lifeblood of this art form is new music."

The Community School's award winning jazz program will present the Monday Night Band and Thursday Night Band in concert on December 21 at 3 PM in Thayer Hall.

Posted 12/11/2014 02:31PM


The Community School of Performing Arts's annual Suzuki Holiday Celebration is one of two performances presented by the Suzuki department each year. The program will feature standard Suzuki repertoire and popular holiday tunes, including "Dreydl" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." In addition to bringing together all of the students enrolled in the Colburn School's Suzuki program, the Suzuki Holiday Celebration also serves as the concert debut of this year's new beginner classes in violin and cello.

"Our families remark year after year about how nice it is to see the oldest and youngest, the most advanced and those who have just started, all in one place," said cello instructor Carey Beth Hockett.

The Suzuki method is a prominent way of teaching string instrument performance to even the youngest children. Developed by Shinichi Suzuki in the mid-20th century, the method relies on creation of an ideal environment for learning, including a sense of collaboration and encouragement among students, group practices, and an emphasis on learning music by ear, at least initially, before learning to read music.

Inspiring a love of performance is a main tenet of the Suzuki method, which strives to make performance comfortable and natural for beginners so that they thrive on stage in later years. Colburn School Suzuki students of all ages and levels are given performance opportunities, where they are assisted by the same production staff who coordinate the Conservatory's orchestra concerts.

"The Suzuki Holiday Celebration provides an opportunity for our community of young learners to share and celebrate holiday music with their families," said Community School of Performing Arts Dean Robert McAllister.

This year's Suzuki Holiday Celebration is on December 17 at 6 pm in Zipper Hall. Visit our website calendar for more information on this event.

Posted 12/11/2014 02:30PM


The Colburn School's annual fund campaign is in full gear. You may have received a letter or email from us in the last few weeks inviting you to give to the fund as part of your year-end donations. If you've already made your gift, thank you for helping us keep performing arts education within everyone's reach. If you've been meaning to give but haven't sent your donation yet, there's no better time than today.

Annual fund gifts are a cornerstone of the Colburn School's ongoing success. With these generous donations, we are able to provide essential need-based financial aid to students in the Community School of Performing Arts. Last year, we distributed nearly $250,000 in scholarships to give passionate, dedicated young people the opportunity to hone their skills and deepen their love of the performing arts.

Donations also benefit our broader communities and audiences as well. Through annual fund gifts, we are able to bring the best and brightest teachers and musicians to the Colburn School campus for performances and public master classes. Our conversation with jazz legend Ron Carter on December 6 and the January 18 Colburn Orchestra concert with guest conductor Sir Neville Merriner are just two examples of how the annual fund can make a difference in our public events.

Every gift to the annual fund, no matter the size, brings another student closer to a violin lesson, a dance class, or vocal ensemble. Please visit our website to make your gift today.

Posted 12/11/2014 02:29PM


Students from ballet and modern dance classes offered by the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute in the Community School of Performing Arts will have an opportunity to show what they've learned at this week's Winter Dance Concert.

The concert is organized by Ballet Chair Kelly Ann Sloan and Modern Dance Chair Tamsin Carlson and features passionate students of advanced studies ballet, intermediate pointe repertoire, modern III, advanced modern technique, and advanced modern repertory class. "Right before a performance, I often tell students they have nothing to prove, but everything to share," Ms. Sloan said. "I want them to feel comfortable in front of an audience. They've worked hard all semester and that effort will show in their performance."

Students in these programs make a serious investment of time, energy, and focus in their classes in preparation for the performance. This can include up to two hours of class time before rehearsal time even begins. The physical demands can be quite intense because "for dancers, there is a lot of repetition involved," Ms. Carlson said. "Working on choreography really helps the students understand the necessity of the hard work of each class and how that hard work benefits them."

The ballet program will include excerpts from Les Sylphides and Don Quixote. Ms. Sloan says the choreography ranges from the romance of Sylphides, featuring variations for solo dancers and intricate patterns for the corps de ballet dancers, to the "dramatic flair" of Quixote. The modern dancers will perform to works by T.J. Troy, Schoenberg, and Glass.

"I am so excited to show how hard the dancers have worked on the ballet repertoire since September," Ms. Sloan said, noting the two ballets, while based in classical vocabulary, are completely different in style. "Their ability to portray these different styles is a true testament to their versatility as performers."

Ms. Carlson echoed her appreciation for the students' dedication, adding, "for the parents, many of whom give up three to five evenings a week so their child can pursue this passion, the concert becomes an evening of revelation and celebration. It's another aspect of this job I really love, seeing the pride of the parents and the reflection of that pride in their child."

Visit our website to learn more about the Winter Dance Concert.

Posted 12/05/2014 03:54PM


Music Academy Dean Ory Shihor remembers how much he loved performing as a young musician pursuing his education, so when it came time to design the Colburn School's program for pre-college musicians, he made sure performing was a cornerstone of the opportunities provided to students.

"They are performers at heart," Mr. Shihor said, speaking from his desk in the midst of preparations for the fall recital. "But you can't just play in your living room. You have to get out into the world. That's why they're here, to try out their material on audience."

Thirteen students were nominated by music academy faculty members for fall recital auditions. Nominations recognize the hardest working and most accomplished students of the term, with a panel of audition judges choosing the seven students or ensembles who will perform in the recital.

Performing involves more than just what the audience sees on stage. Music academy students work closely with faculty member Debbie Devine, an acting and presentational speaking coach, to learn about stage presence and public speaking. At the recital, each musician will talk to the audience about his or her relationship the piece to be performed, why it spoke to them, and what it means to them. Mr. Shihor noted there are many choices musicians make when performing, right down to what they'll wear on stage. Every step of it, he said, "is a kind of ritual" for the performer.

Mr. Shihor hopes the recital performers will feel the energy and appreciation of the audience, which inspires them to keep working hard. He believes performances like this are essential professional development opportunities for music academy students. "It's a critical part of their education, right down to the camaraderie among the performers for the concert."

The Music Academy Fall Recital will begin at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 13. Visit our website for more information, including a roster of performers and program information.

Posted 12/05/2014 03:53PM


Fourteen Community School of Performing Arts students will perform chamber music as part of a master class with violinist Martin Beaver on December 14.

Under the tutelage of faculty coaches Dr. Jennie Jung, Aimée Kreston, Jacob Braun, and Andrew Picken, four small ensembles will perform works by Schubert, Brahms, Paul Schoenfield, and Mendelssohn during the class. All the students participate in the Ed & Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute within the community school. The young musicians will perform their piece for Mr. Beaver, who will then pick out a portion to focus on with the students, inviting them to experiment with different styles and approaches to their performance.

Mr. Beaver, who serves on the faculty of the music academy and the conservatory, was formerly first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet and has taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of British Columbia, Peabody Conservatory, and New York University. At Yale University, where he was Artist in Residence, he was awarded the school's highest honor, the Sanford Medal.

"Chamber music has been a very important part of my life since I was a child. It encompasses some of the greatest composers' finest works," Mr. Beaver said. "I am looking forward to sharing my great love and joy of chamber music with the talented young musicians of the Ed & Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute and to passing down the knowledge and skills I have acquired through years of study and performance of the glorious chamber music repertoire."

The Ed & Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute offers one of the most comprehensive and intense pre-college chamber music learning experiences of any music school in North America. Students receive weekly coaching by faculty of the community school. Ensembles from the institute have been prizewinners in numerous competitions, including the Fischoff Competition, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and the Young Artists Peninsula Music Festival, and have appeared on the nationally syndicated Public Radio International series From the Top.

Along with his work as a faculty member, Mr. Beaver is also a proud parent of a community school student. "I am continually impressed by the Colburn School's unparalleled standards of excellence I have observed from first-hand teaching experience as well as my own daughter's cello and chamber music studies in the Community School of Performing Arts," he said.

The master class is free and open to the public. Visit our website for complete details.

Posted 12/05/2014 02:00PM


"It takes courage to get away from the sheet music," said Liz Kinnon, who directs the jazz combos in the Colburn School's adult studies program. "More than any other of music, the ear must be developed when playing jazz because of the improvisation factor." She was referring to the daring students of the Colburn Adult Studies jazz combos, made up of ambitious adult students who share a love of jazz and want to improve their skills, both individually and with a group.

Up until three years ago, adult jazz musicians played alongside teens in the program directed by Lee Secard of the community school. Mr. Secard asked Ms. Kinnon if she could start a group just for the adult students as he felt their needs were unique. The Colburn School's adult studies program was unveiled shortly thereafter, with the jazz combo being one of the first courses offered. Interested adult musicians leapt at the chance, and before long Ms. Kinnon's program had expanded to fill a second combo.

Ms. Kinnon says the groups are very diverse, ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s. "We have lawyers, doctors, scientists, businesspeople, artists, you name it. The range of life experience makes for a balanced group of fascinating people, all of whom have something to offer," she said.

Each musician puts a great deal of time and effort into the combos, and Ms. Kinnon said she can see—and hear—each participant's progress over the semester and, in many cases, multiple semesters. Musicians must be proficient in their instrument and have some experience with jazz studies when they join the combo. The groups explore various styles of jazz together, learning some jazz theory and approaches to improvisation along the way. The environment is both challenging and encouraging to bring out each musician's best playing while giving them space to learn and experiment comfortably.

"My goal is to give everyone an opportunity to develop their ears, learn standard jazz repertoire, and become better improvisers while working together toward a common goal," Ms. Kinnon said. "It excites me to see each musician develop throughout the semester. Seeing people pursue their passion is near and dear to my heart."

The two combos will perform on December 14 at 5:30 pm in Thayer Hall, sharing a program that includes 13 different tunes.

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 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 and is a visiting professor in composition at the University of California, Los Angeles. 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.

Colburn School Plaza with the Music Center in the background
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Colburn School Thayer Hall windows reflecting L.A. City Hall

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