James Conlon Presents the Music of William Grant Still and Alexander Zemlinsky

February 2 – March 15, 2024
James Conlon curates performances and events spotlighting the rediscovery of the two composers in conjunction with the historic Los Angeles premiere of Still’s Highway 1, USA and the revival of Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) at LA Opera



James Conlon on Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg)
Friday, February 2, 2024 at 12 p.m.
Newman Hall at University of Southern California

James Conlon gives a talk and audiovisual presentation on Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg). This program is hosted by the University of Southern California Thornton Vocal Arts and Opera Department, the USC Thornton Musicology Department, and the Max Kade Institute of Austrian-German-Swiss studies.


A Conversation with James Conlon on William Grant Still’s Highway 1, USA and Alexander Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg)
Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 3 p.m.
Hammer Museum

James Conlon in conversation featuring an audiovisual presentation on Still’s Highway 1, USA and Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg).
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James Conlon Curates an Evening of Music by Alexander Zemlinsky and William Grant Still
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Pre-concert lecture at 6 pm; concert at 7 pm
The Ebell of Los Angeles

ZEMLINSKY Maeterlinck Lieder
STILL Breath of a Rose
STILL Songs of Separation: Idolatry, Poéme, Parted, If You Should Go
ZEMLINSKY String Quartet No. 4

James Conlon curates a program dedicated to the works of Alexander Zemlinsky and William Grant Still, in collaboration with LA Opera Young Artists and the Colburn School. Conlon also leads a discussion on the musical and historical significance of the music, composers, and culture of the time prior to the start of the performance.
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The Opera League of Los Angeles presents a seminar with James Conlon on Still’s Highway 1, USA and Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg)
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 7 p.m.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

James Conlon discusses Still’s Highway 1, USA and Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) in a lecture and audiovisual presentation.
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An Evening with James Conlon on Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) featuring a performance by the Colburn School Quartet
Monday, February 12, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.
Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles

ZEMLINSKY String Quartet No. 3

James Conlon leads a discussion and presentation on the historical commentary around Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) in collaboration with the Colburn School.
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James Conlon discusses Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) featuring performances from members of the LA Opera’s Young Artist Program and LA Opera Orchestra
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art of Art (LACMA)

ZEMLINSKY String Quartet No. 1
ZEMLINSKY Maeterlinck Lieder
STILL Breath of a Rose
STILL Songs of Separation: Idolatry, Poéme, Parted, If You Should Go
ZEMLINSKY String Quartet No. 2

James Conlon leads a discussion on Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg), with a performance featuring musicians of the LA Opera Orchestra, as well as songs by William Grant Still and Zemlinsky in collaboration with LA Opera’s Young Artist Program.
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James Conlon conducts six performances of William Grant Still’s Highway 1 USA and Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf (Der Zwerg) at LA Opera
February 24, March 3 (m), 6, 9, 14, 17 (m); evening performances at 7:30 p.m / matinee performances at 2 p.m.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

STILL Highway 1, USA (Los Angeles premiere)
ZEMLINSKY The Dwarf (Der Zwerg)

James Conlon to lead pre-show talk in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion one hour before each performance.
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Panel discussion on composers suppressed by the Nazi regime
Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 3 p.m.
Villa Aurora / Thomas Mann House

SCHULHOFF Piano Suite for Left Hand Alone Preludio
KAPRÁLOVÁ Song selections
KAPRÁLOVÁ Elegie for Violin and Piano
ZEMLINSKY Maeterlinck Lieder
MARTINU Violin Sonata No. 2

As part of its ongoing series “Remembering the Exiles”, Villa Aurora hosts a panel discussion led by James Conlon and performance in collaboration with LA Opera Young Artists and the Colburn School, on composers suppressed by the Nazi regime and the quest to make their voices heard again — a mission of both Recovered Voices and the Musica Non Grata program by the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera in Prague.


A Musical Friendship of Two Emigres: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Walter Arlen, featuring a pre-concert talk with James Conlon, Adam Millstein, Harvey Sachs, and Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Friday, March 15, 2024
Pre-concert talk at 5:30 p.m.; performance at 7 p.m.
Thayer Hall at the Colburn School and livestreamed

CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO String Quartet No. 2 (U.S. premiere of new edition)
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Greeting Card for String Quartet, dedicated to Walter Arlen
ARLEN Short piano works including Monotypes, an homage to Castelnuovo-Tedesco
ARLEN Sonnet for violin and piano
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Greeting Cards, Waltz On the Name Gregor Piatigorsky

Dedicated to the memory of emigre, composer, and long-time Los Angeles resident Walter Arlen, this program features premieres of works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Walter Arlen, who both fled fascism and artistic repression in Europe and made their home in Los Angeles. The concert includes the US premiere performances of a new edition of String Quartet No. 2 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, including one written based on the name of Walter Arlen. In a pre-concert talk at 5:30 pm moderated by Recovered Voices Program Manager Adam Millstein, special guests James Conlon, Harvey Sachs, and Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco discuss the life-defining challenges exiled artists faced in the 1930s and 40s and what must be done today to keep their work alive.
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Susan Graham

Susan Graham—hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times—rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi’s Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. A familiar face at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she also maintains a strong international presence at such key venues as Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, Santa Fe Opera, and the Hollywood Bowl.   She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music.

Ms. Graham began the 2022-23 season with Music from Copland House premiering A Standing Witness, a new work written for her by Richard Danielpour with text by Rita Dove. She then sang the role of Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow in Dallas Symphony’s 2022 gala with Fabio Luisi alongside Thomas Hampson. She performs the role of Geneviève in Sir David McVicar’s production of Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande at LA Opera with James Conlon and this summer she reprises Geneviève with Santa Fe Opera.

Her earliest operatic successes were in such trouser roles as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Her technical expertise soon brought mastery of Mozart’s more virtuosic roles, like Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Idamante in Idomeneo and Cecilio in Lucio Silla, as well as the title roles of Handel’s Ariodante and Xerxes. She went on to triumph in two iconic Richard Strauss mezzo roles, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. These brought her to prominence on all the world’s major opera stages, including the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, among many others.

It was in an early Lyon production of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict that Graham scored particular raves from the international press, and a triumph in the title role of Massenet’s Chérubin at Covent Garden sealed her operatic stardom. Further invitations to collaborate on French music were forthcoming from many of its preeminent conductors, including Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, and Seiji Ozawa. More recently, she made title role debuts in Offenbach’s comic masterpieces La belle Hélène and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, as well as proving herself the standout star of the Met’s star-studded revival of Les Troyens, which was broadcast live to cinema audiences worldwide in the company’s celebrated “Live in HD” series. Graham’s affinity for French repertoire has not been limited to the opera stage, also serving as the foundation for her extensive concert and recital career. Such great cantatas and symphonic song cycles as Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre and Les nuits d’été, Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer provide opportunities for collaborations with the world’s leading orchestras, and she makes regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, and London Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Graham recently expanded her distinguished discography with Nonesuch Records’ DVD/Blu-ray release of William Kentridge’s new treatment of Berg’s Lulu, which captures her celebrated role debut as Countess Geschwitz at the Met. She has also recorded all the works described above, as well as appearing on a series of lauded solo albums, including Virgins, Vixens & Viragos on the Onyx label, featuring songs and arias by composers from Purcell to Sondheim; Un frisson français, a program of French song recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau, also for Onyx; C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour!, an album of 20th-century operetta rarities on Erato; and La Belle Époque, an award-winning collection of songs by Reynaldo Hahn with pianist Roger Vignoles, from Sony Classical. Among the mezzo’s numerous honors are Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year and an Opera News Award, while Gramophone magazine has dubbed her “America’s favorite mezzo.”

Ms. Graham has been an important presence at LA Opera, where, aside from her frequent appearances on stage, serves as Artistic Advisor to the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.