James Conlon Extends Contract as LA Opera Music Director through 2018
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by BWW News Desk
Plácido Domingo, LA Opera's Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, announced today that James Conlon, the Company's Richard Seaver Music Director, has extended his contract with LA Opera through the end of the 2017/2018 season. "James has had an incredible impact on the artistic quality of LA Opera performances," said Mr. Domingo. "Since his arrival, he has conducted more than half of our mainstage performances, inspiring performers and audiences alike through his extraordinary talents. His vision for the company's future, like mine, is one of great ambition and optimism. We have so many exciting plans for LA Opera's seasons to come, and I am greatly looking forward to continuing our work together."
"I am extremely pleased that I will be able to continue on as Music Director of LA Opera through the 2017-2018 season," said Mr. Conlon. "I am very proud of the Company's artistic accomplishments and of its devotion to maintaining uncompromising artistic standards. On a personal level, I enjoy working and living in Los Angeles on a daily basis in a way I could not have imagined prior to 2006. I am grateful to Plácido Domingo and to Board Chairman Marc Stern for the confidence they have shown in me, to Christopher Koelsch for his exceptional collaboration, and most of all, to the musicians of the orchestra, chorus and music staff for making every intense day so satisfying. Six wonderful years have passed in a flash, and I am so happy to know that five more lie ahead."
Mr. Conlon joined LA Opera as Music Director at the beginning of the 2006/07 season. He has conducted a total of 33 different operas at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including 18 company premieres and two U.S. premieres. To date, he has conducted 190 performances of mainstage LA Opera productions, more than any other conductor in the Company's history. Mr. Conlon has been a driving force behind many of LA Opera's most important initiatives in recent seasons. In 2010, he conducted LA Opera's first presentations of Richard Wagner's complete Der Ring des Nibelungen, which inspired the countywide Ring Festival LA. Throughout 2013 and beyond, he will spearhead Britten 100/LA: A Celebration, in honor of the centenary of English composer Benjamin Britten. Every spring since his arrival, he has conducted popular community outreach productions attended by thousands at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, an endeavor he instituted. He also created LA Opera's celebrated Recovered Voices series, devoted to performing the works of composers suppressed by the Nazi regime. He has conducted four LA Opera productions that have been released on DVD: Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny-which won Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording-Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, Walter Braunfels' The Birds, and a double bill featuring Viktor Ullmann's The Broken Jug and Alexander Zemlinsky's The Dwarf. In 2008, he was the conductor of the Plácido Domingo 40th Anniversary Gala Concert, seen in high-definition screenings in movie theaters throughout the United States. Uniquely among American opera companies, his pre-performance lectures have become an integral part of L.A.'s opera-going experiences, drawing a large and faithful crowd. He has been a regular guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and he is actively involved in the city's music education as guest conductor of the orchestras of the Colburn School of Music (the city's leading conservatory), the University of Southern California and UCLA where he is a Regents' Lecturer this season.
James Conlon, one of today's most versatile and respected conductors, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. Since his 1974 debut with the New York Philharmonic, he has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, numerous essays and commentaries, frequent television appearances and guest speaking engagements, Mr. Conlon is one of classical music's most recognized interpreters. In addition to being music director of LA Opera, he is also music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (since 2005), and music director of America's oldest choral festival, the Cincinnati May Festival (since 1979), where he has provided the artistic leadership for more May Festivals than any other music director in the festival's 140-year history and holds a place among the longest-tenured music directors of any major classical music institution in the United States. He has served as Principal Conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995-2004); General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989-2002), where he was Music Director of both the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic and the Cologne Opera; and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983-1991). Mr. Conlon has conducted more than 260 performances at the Metropolitan Opera since his debut there in 1976. He has also appeared at Teatro alla Scala, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Teatro del Opera di Roma. In the course of his career, he has conducted more than 90 operas and several hundred symphonic and choral works.