James Conlon Named UCLA Regents’ Lecturer for Winter 2013

09.11.12
James Conlon
LA Opera

James Conlon, LA Opera's Richard Seaver Music Director, has been named Regents’ Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA for Winter Quarter 2013. The Regents’ Lectureship was established by the University of California in order to invite distinguished leaders from fields outside the traditional boundaries of the academic world to enrich its curriculum with their special knowledge, talents, and experiences.

Mr. Conlon will offer a series of lectures on “Early, Middle and Late Styles in Verdi and Wagner,” to be held at the Hammer Museum in Westwood at 7:30pm on February 19, 21 and March 7, 2013. These lectures will be open to the public. A fourth session, featuring a master class conducted by Mr. Conlon with students from Opera UCLA and LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artists program, will be held in Schoenberg Hall on the main UCLA campus on March 12, 2013, at 7:30pm.  A UCLA undergraduate course will be taught in conjunction with the lecture series; students in the class will have an opportunity to meet with Mr. Conlon, as well as to attend a rehearsal at LA Opera.

“I am honored by this invitation to serve as Regents’ Scholar at UCLA,” said Mr. Conlon. “Meaningful contact between the teaching and performing communities at the highest levels is one of the benefits of living in a great city, and I look forward to this opportunity. I know that I will enjoy my time with the faculty, students and members of the greater UCLA community, as has always been the case whenever I have visited the campus.”

David Schaberg, Dean of Humanities at UCLA, remarked “It is a great honor for UCLA to welcome Maestro Conlon to campus and to reaffirm, through his teaching and other activities here, the university’s ties with our city’s rich musical life.”

James Conlon has been the music director of LA Opera since 2006. In addition to his position in Los Angeles, he is the music director (since 2005) of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and of the Cincinnati May Festival (since 1979). Mr. Conlon made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974 and two years later made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has since led more than 260 performances. He has previously served as principal conductor of the Paris National Opera; general music director of the City of Cologne, Germany; and music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic.

Renowned for his interpretations of Wagner’s repertoire in Europe, Mr. Conlon has established a Wagnerian tradition in Los Angeles since beginning his tenure at LA Opera in 2006. Over a span of six years, he has conducted seven Wagner operas at LA Opera, including the company’s first Ring cycle in 2010. Continuing these efforts, he will lead The Flying Dutchman in commemoration of the Wagner bicentennial in 2013.  Additionally, this season at LA Opera, he will conduct the first major staging in the U.S. in four decades of Verdi’s early opera The Two Foscari (I Due Foscari), as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Mr. Conlon is engaged in a three-year homage to Benjamin Britten leading up to the 2013 centenary of the composer’s birth, conducting symphonic and choral works and six operas in both the U.S. and Europe, including LA Opera’s recent Turn of the Screw and Albert Herring, as well as an upcoming production of Noye's Fludde at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

In an effort to raise awareness of the significance of the lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime, Mr. Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music throughout Europe and North America, including a multi-season project dedicated to this mission at LA Opera. His work on behalf of suppressed composers led to the creation of The OREL Foundation (www.orelfoundation.org).

Committed to working with pre-professional musicians, Mr. Conlon has devoted his time to teaching at The Juilliard School, New World Symphony, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School andTanglewoodMusicCenter.  His coaching sessions and master classes with finalists of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition are documented in a collection of highly acclaimed PBS videos. InLos Angeleshe works with students at The Colburn Conservatory, USC and UCLA and his pre-concert lectures at LA Opera consistently attract capacity crowds.

Mr. Conlon’s numerous honors include two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for the LA Opera recording of Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and an Opera News Award. He is a Commander of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and he received the Légion d’Honneur from then-President Jacques Chirac in 2002.