Posted 03/23/2015 11:46AM


Colburn School faculty from the Community School of Performing Arts and the Conservatory of Music will each give recitals this weekend, providing unique opportunities for students and families to experience firsthand these virtuosic performers.

On Friday, March 27, the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts will present a Faculty Showcase Recital in Zipper Hall at 7:30 pm. Conservatory of Music cello professor Ron Leonard will give a free public recital on Sunday, March 29, at 2 pm in Thayer Hall.

Mr. Leonard has a long and distinguished career as both a performer as a teacher. Prior to joining the faculty of the Colburn School, he served as principal cellist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and taught at the Eastman School of Music; he later served as principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, holding the post for 24 years. His Sunday recital presents a unique opportunity to experience his talents in an intimate setting.

The Community School performance this Friday will include 11 faculty and three special guests. Can Canbolat (violin), Vanessa Fadial (piano), Henry Gronnier (piano), Taylor Hughey (trombone), Jerry Kalaf (vibraphone), Jeffrey Lavner (piano), Kay Montgomery (voice), Yung-mee Rhee (piano), Theresa Treuenfels (bassoon), Kenton Youngstrom (guitar), and Micah Yui (piano) will perform a wide range of repertoire by composers such as Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Yoshioda, and Kapustin, as well as two new compositions by Colburn School faculty.

The program will also include Colburn Adult Studies faculty John Steinmetz (bassoon), Colburn Conservatory of Music accompanist and Colburn Music Academy chamber music instructor Vivian Fan (piano), and special guest Hee Jung Joo (piano).

"The Community School's Faculty Showcase Recital is a unique opportunity for our students and their families to hear the teachers perform with one another in a variety of musical styles onstage in Colburn School's beautiful Zipper Hall," said Assistant Dean Sara Hiner. "I hope our students will join me in supporting our faculty on Friday in this special performance."

The audience is invited to join the faculty in the Colburn Café for a reception following the performance. Visit our online calendar for more information about the program.

Posted 03/23/2015 11:44AM


The upcoming Gibson Dunn Rush Hour concert will take listeners out on a limb with a presentation of contemporary music highlighting the work of percussion students in the Colburn Conservatory of Music.

Featuring works written after 1984, the Musical Mavericks Rush Hour concert will feature excerpts from Piazzolla's Tango Suite, Donatoni's Omar: Part II, Steve Reich's Mallet Quartet, and Mark Carlson's Batik for Violin and Piano. The program also features an original composition by Conservatory of Music percussion student Derek Tywoniuk, called This Quiet Night.

Of the composers included on the program, Derek said, "They're all innovators in their own way. All great composers since Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and the like all questioned the rules of their time, and that's a trait that continues to mark great composers. They force audiences and performers to reevaluate everything they do, to push them further."

Percussion professor Jack Van Geem was one of the faculty members who helped put the program together. "Richard Beene, Dean of the Conservatory, had been wanting something edgy to add to the mix," he said. "He heard the Reich piece and felt it was perfect. We looked for other pieces like it, pieces that were both challenging and comforting for the audience at the same time."

Contemporary music represents a departure from the assumptions and standards of much of classical music. While classical composers had their own voices, they tended to compose within a shared spirit of their time. "There are more styles, offshoots of other styles, to even group together 20th century music doesn't really encapsulate all of the possibilities that exist," Derek said. The solo repertoire for percussionists has grown over the last 30 years, Derek added, "and the level of performance by percussionists has skyrocketed during that time."

Of his own composition, Derek said This Quiet Night was inspired in part by his experience spending late nights alone in the Colburn School's practice rooms. The last half of the piece includes a quotation from Bach, several chords Derek has slowed down to elapse over six minutes, played on a variety of percussion instruments. "I'm fascinated by how we experience time," he said, "how the same interval of time can be gone in an instant or can seem to last forever."

Visit our website for more information on the Rush Hour concert. This event is free, but reservations are required.

Posted 03/23/2015 11:43AM


Members of the Colburn Jazz Workshop's Monday Night Band, Thursday Night Band, and Big Band will travel to Monterey, California, this week to perform in the Next Generation Jazz Festival, hosted by the Monterey Jazz Festival. The three student groups were named finalists in the competition.

Approximately 130 groups apply to participate in the Next Generation Jazz Festival each year. In order to be eligible, groups must achieve a ranking of superior or first division at a festival in the previous twelve months. A panel of faculty from the Berklee College of Music review the application materials, including a performance sample, and determine the finalists for each category.

Lee Secard, Community School saxophone instructor and Director of the Colburn Jazz Workshop, serves as the director of the three ensembles in the festival, and Dr. Walter Simonsen serves as Assistant Director of the Big Band. This is the fourth time in twelve years the Colburn School's jazz program has made it to the finals, but the first time more than one group has been chosen, and the first time the Big Band has been selected.

The Community School of Performing Arts's jazz program earned one of six finalist spots for Conglomerate High School Big Band and two of six finalist spots for Conglomerate High School Combo Division. "The groups we are presenting at the young artists series this year have all distinguished themselves, individually and collectively with awards and competition success," Mr. Secard said. "They are very talented and accomplished, but they are also very hard-working and dedicated to advancing their skill and understanding of composition and improvisation. We are pleased for them and proud of their success, and we also greatly admire their qualities of excellence and dedication."

The Colburn Jazz program began in the 1980s at the school's old facility on South Figueroa Avenue with one ensemble under the direction of the eminent New Orleans musician and teacher, Harold Battiste. Mr. Secard began teaching at Colburn in 1987 and became Director of the Jazz Program in 1995, making this his 20th year at the helm of the Colburn Jazz Workshop. During that time, the Community School's jazz program has grown to encompass eight bands, most recently adding the Big Band in 2010. Students enrolled in the Colburn Jazz Workshop have garnered numerous national honors, including DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, YoungArts Awards, Spotlight Awards, and have gone on to some of the nation's top conservatories and universities for jazz studies. Notable Colburn School jazz alumni include Billy Childs, Larry Klein, Donald Vega, and Eric Reed, just to name a few.

Posted 03/23/2015 11:38AM


Conservatory of Music violinist Simone Porter, 18, received the Avery Fisher Career Grant on March 18 by the Avery Fisher Artist Program. Simone was honored in a ceremony at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR by the Avery Fisher Artist Program's Chairman, Joseph W. Polisi, along with Charles Avery Fisher and Nancy Fisher.

Simone began studying violin at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in 2007 as a student of Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Chair Robert Lipsett, with whom she studies to this day. She is the first Colburn student to have taken lessons in the Community School, the Colburn Music Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, and the Colburn Conservatory of Music consecutively. Of the award, Mr. Lipsett said, "I am so happy for and proud of my student Simone. For many years, I have watched Simone dedicate her life to her art. Her love of music and the violin, her talent, and hard work have led to her success, which is now being recognized with one of classical music's greatest honors. This endorsement and financial support as a performing artist will allow Simone to continue to soar and be an ambassador for classical music."

Avery Fisher Career Grants are designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists, as well as chamber ensembles, whom the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee of the Avery Fisher Artist Program believe to have great potential for major careers. Each recipient receives an award stipend of $25,000 to be used for specific needs in furthering a career. Recipients are nominated by the Program's Recommendation Board, made up of nationally known instrumentalists, conductors, composers, music educators, managers, and presenters.

"It is a great honor and personal joy for me to receive the Avery Fisher Career Grant, and I thank the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee of the Avery Fisher Artist Program for their recognition and belief in me as an aspiring artist," Simone said. "Integral to my growth as a musician has been the unflagging support and inspiration from the Colburn School and its extraordinary faculty, my incredible classmates, Sarah and Peter Mandell, and many others. The integrity of the school's mission and the generosity of spirit instilled in the Colburn community have greatly affected my view of music making, and this grant will enable me to continue to explore and share those values. The gratitude I feel towards my longtime and beloved teacher Robert Lipsett and my gracious manager Laura Liepins is beyond expression, and I will forever be thankful for their guidance and encouragement."

Simone is the youngest of five recipients of the 2015 award. The announcement was followed by performances by all five Career Grant recipients, which were recorded for radio broadcast and webstream by WQXR. The broadcast will air on April 6 from 10–11 pm on 105.9 FM. The award ceremony and performance can be viewed online now.

"Simone's journey perfectly underscores the Colburn School's commitment to students through all stages of their musical development, and it is with great pride that we congratulate her on this tremendous accomplishment," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "This grant will help usher in the next phase of what will undoubtedly be a long and storied career."

Posted 03/16/2015 02:39PM


A new partnership with budding concert series will bring talented young musicians to the west side of Los Angeles beginning this month.

Hardly Strictly Classical is presented by Sarah Coade Mandell and Peter Mandell at the Moss Theater at the Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Roads School. The new series in Santa Monica includes three performances each year, featuring internationally acclaimed artists and local musicians.

The first co-presented recital will feature Conservatory of Music student William Hagen performing a program that includes masterpieces of violin repertoire as well as virtuoso show pieces demonstrating his technical skill. William placed second in the 2014 International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition and is already a seasoned performer, having appeared as a soloist with the St. Louis, Fort Worth, Utah, Jacksonville, and Knoxville Symphonies.

The Mandells also have a collection of fine stringed instruments that are loaned out to students and young professionals who are in need of a great sounding instrument to further their artistic endeavors. The Steinway & Sons piano that will be used in William's recital was donated to the Moss Theater by the Mandells.

The Hardly Strictly Classical recital featuring William Hagen is free and open to the public. Visit our website for more information on this event or to reserve your tickets.

Posted 03/16/2015 02:36PM


Retirement didn't stop pianist Bob Lipson and lecturer-performer Saul Jacobs from performing together. In fact, now it's all they do. The two "lively octogenarians," as they call themselves, have presented a touring performance of beloved standards and classic popular music throughout Southern California since 2007. On March 20 and April 10, they'll present a two-session class on great American songwriters at the Colburn School. The course is free and open to the public and will combine lectures, live piano music, videos, and sing-alongs to revive the golden age of American popular music.

Though they've been friends who performed together for parties and special occasions for the past 63 years, it wasn't until they retired from their careers that the two enthusiastic popular music lovers had a chance to focus on the songs they love. Their traveling show started out as a series of seven performances at the Jewish Community Center in West Hills and has since grown to 40 programs that have been presented at more than 150 venues across the region. They average between three and five performances each week.

Their favorite part of doing this is the response they get from audiences. "They laugh, they applaud, they shout out answers when we throw them questions," Mr. Jacobs said. "They sing along to the music and then they come up afterward and tell us how wonderful we made them feel." Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Lipson travel hundreds of miles a month to perform, sometimes putting in two hour commutes each way, but the spectacular comments make it worthwhile. Mr. Jacobs remembers one woman from South Pasadena who told them, "I postponed my surgery this afternoon so I could come see you guys. No kidding: a triple bypass."

Mr. Lipson and Mr. Jacobs focus on songs written in the first half of the 20th century, the music that surrounded them and inspired them as they grew up. In the time they've been performing the work, they've translated their love of the music into a love for learning about the music. "To be an authority on a subject the way these two gentlemen are, you have to be passionate about it," said Nathaniel Zeisler, director of adult studies at the Colburn School. "And that passion can be infectious when shared with an audience."

Their next course at the Colburn School will focus on the songs of composer Richard Rodgers, examining the distinction between songs he composed with lyricists Lorenz Hart and then Oscar Hammerstein II. "When Rodgers left one partner and teamed up with the other, there was a drastic change in the types of songs and the types of shows he wrote, and the contrast is fascinating to understand," Mr. Jacobs said.

Though the course tends to attract audiences who grew up listening to these mid-century songs, Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Lipson are exploring ways to share this music with younger generations. They are thrilled to share their course with the Colburn School community and look forward to working with our students.

The Great American Songwriters course is free and open to the public. Visit the Adult Studies webpages for more information or to register.

Posted 03/16/2015 02:27PM


The Colburn School's ongoing relationship with the Pasadena Symphony has been a harmonious one, founded on shared passions for performance and training. The symphony and the school have found many ways to work together to serve audiences of classical music.

"Working with the Colburn School is a perfect match," said Pasadena Symphony Association CEO Lora Unger. "We are proud our musicians can serve as mentors for young musicians at the Colburn School even as we continue our tradition of showcasing the most talented and promising young musicians in our Singpoli Classics Series at Ambassador Auditorium." Founded in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony is considered to be the world's most-heard orchestra due to its extensive credits in film, television, recording, and performance.

Colburn School violin instructor Aimée Kreston serves as faculty for both the Community School of Performing Arts and the Music Academy, but when she isn't working with students, she serves as the concertmaster of the Pasadena Symphony. Along with Ms. Kreston, five other Community School faculty members perform in the Pasadena Symphony, including Marissa Benedict (principal trumpet), Sam Fischer (violin), Andrew Picken (principal viola), and JoAnn Turovsky (principal harp). Next season's symphony schedule will include solo performances by Community School alumnae Anne Akiko Meyers and Jennifer Frautschi.

Community School of Performing Arts violinist Geneva Lewis, who studies with Ms. Kreston at the Colburn School, will perform Mozart's Violin Concert No. 3 in her solo debut with the Pasadena Symphony on March 21. The symphony considers 16-year-old Geneva to be "one of the stars of tomorrow."

Geneva, originally from Auckland, New Zealand, made her orchestral debut at age 11. Her powerful performances have earned her prizes and accolades from many competitions and music organizations, including winning the top honor, the Instrumental Prize, at the Mondavi Center National Young Artists Competition and the highest honor, Music Finalist, from the National YoungArts Foundation's annual awards.

"I'm very excited and proud to be representing the Colburn Community School in my upcoming performance with the Pasadena Symphony and conductor Nicholas McGegan," Geneva said. "It's an incredible honor to be able to collaborate with him, and I can't wait to play alongside the orchestra, especially with my teacher, Aimée Kreston, as Concertmaster."

The Colburn School and the Pasadena Symphony will collaborate once again on July 18, 2015 for the Steinway Concerto Competition. Hosted by the Colburn School as the culminating event at the Colburn Music Academy Piano Festival, the first prize winner will be presented by the Pasadena Symphony in their 2016–2017 season.

Visit the Pasadena Symphony website for more information on this event or to purchase tickets.

Posted 03/16/2015 02:25PM


The Community School of Performing Arts will highlight the great work of student instrumentalists, vocalists, and dancers this weekend at the third annual Taste of Colburn, which kicks off at 5 pm on Colburn Plaza with a silent auction and performance by the Colburn Jazz Workshop.

"It's a really special day for our students, for their families, and for us as educators," said Community School Dean Robert McAllister. "I'm looking forward to talking with parents and family members during the event, and of course I can't wait to see the performances we've got lined up throughout the evening."

Taste of Colburn is the Community School's annual fundraising event, with proceeds raised going directly to support need-based scholarships and financial aid. "We believe a performing arts education should be within everyone's reach," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan, who co-chairs this year's event with wife Micah Yui and Community School parents Samantha and Marc Sandman. "Taste of Colburn helps make a Colburn School education available to more passionate, dedicated students who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity were it not for our scholarships."

Guests at the event can get a taste of almost everything the Community School has to offer. Students in the dance and choir programs will give brief performances guests can drop in to see during the cocktail hour, and faculty chairs Denise Scheerer, Tamsin Carlson, and Dr. Mikhail Shtangrud will be on hand to talk with guests about the work students can do in their courses.

Pianist and Distinguished Alumna Dr. Grace Fong will take the stage to perform with students at the start and end of the main stage performance, with many stellar Community School ensembles taking the stage throughout the evening.

"Our students work so hard all year long and they are eager to perform in this very special event," said Community School Assistant Dean Sara Hiner. "Everyone leaves campus feeling inspired and energized."

Visit this link for more information on Taste of Colburn and for tickets.

Posted 03/06/2015 03:37PM


Cellist Hans Jørgen Jensen, highly regarded as both a performer and a teacher, will visit the Colburn School this week to provide master classes in cello and bass to the Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy. "Mr. Jensen's wealth of teaching experience and his knowledge of technique will be very much appreciated by our students," said Conservatory Dean Richard Beene. "We are thrilled to welcome him to campus."

Mr. Jensen has received significant recognition for his teaching. Northwestern University recognized Mr. Jensen as outstanding teacher of the year in 1998 and in 1999, he received the outstanding studio teacher of the year award from Illinois ASTA. In 2001, Mr. Jensen received the US Presidential Scholar Teacher Recognition Award from the US Department of Education.

"It's very important for me to adapt my teaching method to each student," he has said of his pedagogy. "I have to help students find the most natural and comfortable way for them to play." This can include helping students understand even how the shape of their bodies—their height, the length of their arm, and so on—can affect which methods of playing work best for them. Once students feel comfortable with their instrument, he says, they can focus on sound and technique.

When it comes to lessons, Mr. Jensen remains logical about how he uses his time. In the one hour he has with students each week, he tailors his lessons to help them identify how to use the fifteen to twenty hours they'll spend alone with their instrument. "A focus on fundamentals helps build a solid technical foundation," he said, but Mr. Jensen suggests students have many goals in mind—a goal for the session, for the day, for the week, and for long-term work. "The challenge is to work on many levels at once."

Over time, fundamentals should give way to deeper interest and investment in the music. "The more advanced a student is, the more I want him or her to understand what is going on intellectually and musically," he said. As students develop their understanding of music, he asks them to consider works more holistically. "It is important to study the whole work: in a sonata to really know the piano part and in a concerto the orchestra part." The attention given to the larger work helps student performers understand the nuance of their role in performing it.

Mr. Jensen's philosophy of teaching puts a great deal of focus on helping each student succeed based on their unique needs. "What works for one student may not work for another," he said. "My job is to recognize the differences and figure out what I can do to help each one become the best cellist and musician their talents and desires will allow."

Visit our online calendar for more information on Mr. Jensen's master classes.

Posted 03/06/2015 03:35PM



Living on the Colburn School campus is an exciting opportunity for students in the Conservatory of Music, as well as many students in the Music Academy and Dance Academy. Several professional staff live on campus to help students achieve success inside and outside the classroom and practice room.

Dean of Residential Life Suhnne Ahn joined the Colburn School staff earlier this year and is eager to help students thrive. "I've always been drawn to excellence, which is why I was drawn to the Colburn School," she said. Dr. Ahn previously worked with residential students at the University of Pennsylvania and was on faculty at the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University. "Bright students are enriched by intellectual, cultural, and wellness activities outside the classroom," she said. With her own background as a performing musician and musicology professor infusing everything she does in her role, Dr. Ahn says she knows the unique pressures students face when trying to balance coursework with three to five hours of practice each day.

The residential life program at the Colburn School provides opportunities for students to form strong relationships with their classmates while exploring the vibrant world of Los Angeles and beyond. Already this year, students have gone whale watching in Long Beach Harbor with Colburn School supporters Jess and Donna Morton, toured the Getty Center, and attended LA Opera's recent production of The Ghost of Versailles. In a few weeks, students will have the option to travel to Monterey together for spring break.

Dr. Ahn says establishing some rituals for students is important. "Regular events like that become stabilizing ingredients in students' lives," she said. As she unpacks and gets settled, Dr. Ahn says she looks forward to creating more opportunities like that, including a book club, film society, or group cooking nights. "I want them to converse with one another—and with others—over a table," she says, hoping these kinds of activities give the students a chance to refine the communication skills that will be essential in their music careers.

With a diverse student body drawing from places across many nations, these opportunities to connect become even more important ways for students to learn about the world around them. "I want them to have enriching educational experiences that don't involve grades," she said.

Dr. Ahn's staff includes Associate Director of Residential Life Annie Bosler and six Resident Advisors.

Posted 03/06/2015 03:34PM


"Music is my first language," said Dr. Grace Fong, award-winning pianist and respected teacher. Dr. Fong is the recipient of this year's Distinguished Alumni Award from the Community School of Performing Arts, presented in conjunction with the annual Taste of Colburn Celebration. "My mom is a pianist, and she performed her final graduate recital when she was nine months pregnant with me," she went on, "so music was always a part of me, literally from the start."

Born in Los Angeles, Dr. Fong studied classical piano at the Community School of Performing Arts under the mentorship of Dr. Louise Lepley from 1994 to 1997. "Dr. Lepley was always such a kind and supportive force, and I looked forward to my lessons with her." At that time, Dr. Fong and her family lived in Bakersfield, California, and made a two-hour drive to reach the Colburn School's previous location on South Figueroa Avenue in Los Angeles. "I remember standing outside the door before a lesson, watching Dr. Lepley immersed in Bach at the piano. I could see on her face how much she loved music and teaching."

Dr. Fong said Dr. Lepley's lessons nurtured not only her technical skills, but her self-esteem as well. "A special part of the lesson was heart-to-hearts with her," she said. "She always made me feel so important, so cared for, and she filled my week with positivity and optimism. She treated me with the utmost respect, and I felt like a fellow musician rather than just a student."

In 1997, at Dr. Lepley's encouragement, Dr. Fong applied for the National Foundation for the Advancement of Arts competition, where the young pianist won the Grand Prize. She was subsequently named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed at the Kennedy Center. At the ceremony, President Bill Clinton presented Dr. Fong with a gold medal, while Dr. Lepley received a distinguished teacher award.

"It was at the Colburn School I found more comfort in performing publicly because of the weekly Friday Night Recitals," Dr. Fong recalled, "and Dr. Lepley continued to serve as a mentor to me after I left the school to pursue my college education." At the time, Dr. Fong felt pulled in many directions, wanting to pursue interests in medicine, design, anthropology, just to name a few. "Dr. Lepley kindly guided me to help me find my path. And this was how I realized my career path would without a doubt be in music and piano."

When asked what advice she would give current Community School students, Dr. Fong said, "I encourage them to take every chance they have to attend concerts and master classes offered to them, to collaborate with their peers, and to create long-lasting friendships." But her advice doesn't stop there. She wants students to pause and reflect on the value of the opportunities afforded to them. She added, "I would ask them to realize how lucky we are to have the opportunity to study music and to work with such brilliant teachers at a place like the Colburn School."

Dr. Fong will perform with current Community School students and receive her award at the third annual Taste of Colburn event, held March 21 at the Colburn School campus. Visit our website to purchase tickets or to learn more about the event.

Posted 03/06/2015 03:32PM


After 77 years in business, Frank Music Company, the last brick and mortar sheet music store in New York City, will be closing its doors on March 6. However, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Colburn School will acquire the over 100,000 scores in Ms. Rogers's store. "While it's unfortunate that New York is losing an institution that has served generations of musicians, we are grateful that her collection will find a home at the Colburn School, where it will be an invaluable resource for our students and faculty for years to come," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan, calling it "a remarkable inventory of music."

Frank has served countless musicians throughout the years, from young students to famous soloists such as Emanuel Ax and Joshua Bell. Dwindling sales over the last several years led current owner Heidi Rogers to the difficult decision that she must finally close shop. "From 2011 to 2014, we went from seeing 15-20 people a day to seeing two or three," Ms. Rogers said, citing the rise of online retailers as triggering a downward shift in sales. "The store's fate was sealed with the rapid spread of free downloading."

Frank Music Company opened in 1937 under the ownership of Frank Marx, and was purchased by Ms. Rogers in 1978. The scores coming to the Colburn School are varied and extensive, selected by Ms. Rogers with care and expertise. They include everything from standard pieces in the solo repertoire of various instruments to scores for more obscure chamber music ensembles.

Ms. Rogers is grateful for the silver lining. "All the wonderful music I bought and treasured over so many years will have a new home," she said. "I'm glad it will be used by gifted teachers and students in the years to come."

Posted 03/06/2015 03:30PM


On April 24, 2015, the Colburn School will honor philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen at our annual gala concert and benefit. The theme of the event is Grand Avenue in Grand Style, and it will celebrate the vibrant cultural hub South Grand Avenue has become thanks to the efforts of this year's honorees.

"I am thrilled that Colburn is honoring Eli and Edythe Broad and Esa-Pekka Salonen," said Colburn School Chairman Carol Colburn Grigor, who is also Co-Chair of the gala. "They have contributed so much to make Grand Avenue not just an essential destination for lovers of music and the performing arts in Los Angeles, but also a cultural locus of international significance."

Colburn School Vice Chairman and Gala Co-Chair Andrew Millstein says, "I share Carol's enthusiasm for this year's honorees. Esa-Pekka Salonen has left an indelible mark on the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Broads' vision in developing Grand Avenue have helped ensure that Los Angeles will be an inspiring place to live and learn far into the future."

Eli and Edythe Broad are founders of the Broad Foundations, established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science, and the arts. The visionary behind the Grand Avenue Project, Mr. Broad was the founding chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art and helped lead the fundraising for Walt Disney Concert Hall. The couple's new Grand Avenue art museum, The Broad, is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and will open to the public with free admission on September 20, 2015.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, one of the most sought after conductors and composers in classical music, is the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra; Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 to 2009; and the first-ever Creative Chair at the Tonhalle Zurich Orchestra. A noted composer, Mr. Salonen won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in 2009 for his violin concerto and is the New York Philharmonic's next composer-in-residence.

"With The Broad Museum, our honorees Edythe and Eli Broad have given Colburn a spectacular new neighbor on Grand Avenue," said Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan. "For our students, working with the very conductor who inaugurated Walt Disney Concert Hall represents a pivotal moment for them as they develop into professional musicians. It's a valuable experience that I know they'll cherish."

Tickets for the Gala Concert are available here.

Tickets to the Gala Dinner begin at $1,000; please contact Michael Fuller at mfuller@colburnschool.edu for more information on attending the dinner.

Posted 03/02/2015 11:38AM


The Community School of Performing Arts revealed the roster of student performers and ensembles as well as the repertoire for the third annual event, which celebrates student achievement and raises money for financial aid and scholarships for Community School students. "Being selected to perform for the Community School's annual fundraiser is a true honor and a testament to the work each of these students have done with their faculty," said Community School Dean Robert McAllister. "I am proud of each of the young artists representing the Community School on this special evening."

Guests arriving at the event at 5 pm for the silent auction and refreshments on Colburn Plaza will enjoy a performance by students in the Colburn Jazz Workshop. The first half of the evening will feature original compositions by the Sunday Afternoon Band. The Monday Night and Thursday Night Bands will play their sets from the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. "One of the things we enjoy in our jazz program is having such talented improvisers," Mr. McAllister said. "And many of our jazz students have won multiple national awards." These talented young jazz artists will end the evening performing in various combinations of students, formed by Lee Secard, director of the jazz program.

In addition to the plaza performance, attendees can enjoy "tastings" in Mayman Hall and the Grand Building dance studios 6 pm – 7 pm. Students in our choir, tap, and modern dance programs will give brief demonstrations and performances to show Taste of Colburn guests the kind of work they do in their classes. Choir Director Dr. Mikhail Shtangrud, Modern Dance Chair Tamsin Carlson, and Tap Chair Denise Scheerer will talk with guests to give insight into the educational and artistic process within their programs.

At 7:30 pm, everyone will move to Zipper Hall for the showcase performance, which will open with some of our younger string players, mostly between the ages of 8 and 12, enrolled in the Suzuki program. These young violinists and cellists will perform arrangements of von Weber's Hunters' Chorus, Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5, and Taste of Cellodrum Colburn by the Community School's cello instructor Carey Beth Hockett. The program will also include a performance of the first movement from Schubert's Trio in B-flat Major, as well as a ballet performance from Chopin's non-narrative ballet blanc, Les Sylphides.

This year the Community School honors pianist Dr. Grace Fong with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Fong, who is Director of Keyboard Studies at Chapman University, will play a pivotal role in Taste of Colburn's showcase performance by collaborating in two pieces with our students. First, she will take the stage for a performance of the first movement from the Dohnányi Piano Quintet No. 1. She will close the program with the triumphant first movement from Grieg's Piano Concerto accompanied by the Colburn Youth Orchestra, conducted by her fellow University of Southern California alum and classmate Maxim Eshkenazy.

The evening will conclude with more jazz under the night sky as guests move back to the plaza to pick up items they won in the silent auction. "It is always a fun evening for all who attend," said Community School Assistant Dean Sara Hiner, "but it's especially wonderful for the student performers, who take real pride in performing as part of the event."

Visit this link for more information and tickets.

Posted 03/02/2015 11:25AM


As part of the Colburn School's Ziering-Conlon Initiative, the Conservatory of Music has convened its annual course "Recovered Voices: an Examination of Lesser-Known Composers and Works of the Early Twentieth Century." LA Opera Music Director James Conlon serves as the course's instructor, with Robert Elias assisting.

The class is particularly popular with Adult Studies students, with more than 80 registrants. The instructional approach is one of investigation. To prepare students for the kind of inquiry placed at the heart of the class, Mr. Conlon provides a series of questions in his course description, from "Who were these composers and why do we know so little of their music?" to "What happens when art collides with its society?"

"I want the students not only to be able to identify the suppressed composers," Mr. Conlon said, "but also to become familiar with their music. It is also important to understand how artistic suppression happens and what are its long-term effects on a society and its artists."

Reviving these underappreciated works and learning about the lives of the composers fills gaps in our understanding of twentieth century music. Mr. Conlon hopes the course will also encourage students to do more than just read about and hear some of these works—he hopes to inspire Colburn students to perform these composers and add them to their repertories as professional musicians.

Along with Mr. Conlon and Mr. Elias, the course includes guest lectures by respected scholars and performers in the field, including New Yorker music critic Alex Ross; Dr. Bret Werb, Curator of Music Collections of the United States Holocaust Museum; Jeffrey Kahane, Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; University of California at Santa Barbara professor Derek Katz; and Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director of The ARC Ensemble of Toronto.
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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