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Conductor Daniel Lewis: An Adviser Stands Down

March 31, 1985|DANIEL CARIAGA

"This is not a resignation," says Daniel Lewis, who recently stepped down from his position as conductor and musical adviser to the Glendale Symphony.

The popular California musician, speaking from his office at USC, where he is chairman of the conducting studies department and leads the University Orchestra, is anxious to clarify his action.

"My agreement with the Glendale Symphony, all along, was to be adviser for one year only," he explains. "I resisted totally the idea of becoming music director."

Lewis, who held another musical directorship, that of the Pasadena Symphony, from 1972 to 1983, and left it amid a great deal of controversy (some of it over repertory), says his dealings with the Glendale board have been "very agreeable."

"Actually, I like the members of the Glendale Symphony board tremendously. We've had very few disagreements.

"At the same time, the board has repeatedly told me that the direction of the orchestra would not change," Lewis says, referring to the pops programming first introduced by the late Carmen Dragon, Glendale music director for 20 years.

"They say they have no intention of making the orchestra's repertory significant, that they are more interested in building programs that are, as one of them said, 'entertaining rather than instructional.'

"And another member of the board even said, 'We don't want to be another L.A. Philharmonic.'

Lewis points out an irony: During the last year, the Glendale Symphony has been selling more tickets than in previous seasons. Finding that out, Lewis says, "I asked the board if they shouldn't poll their audience, to see what it, and the community, wants. They said they didn't care, that they (the board) are the ones who pay the bills, so they will do what they want.

"To that I can only say 'Bravo.' But that kind of orchestra does not interest me."

Still, the conductor acknowledges, he's had good relations "with all the Glendale people--players, board members and volunteers--except for one board member who objected violently to my insistence on a fourth rehearsal. The idea of that fourth rehearsal really shook some of them up. But, as I told them, that rehearsal is necessary to bring the Glendale Symphony's playing into the same league with orchestras in Pasadena and Long Beach."

All this is "a tempest in a teapot," Lewis claims.

"Right now, I've got too many other things to think about. Major changes are taking place at USC at this time, and I have important committee work there. Plus a number of guest-conducting engagements next season--in Seattle and San Diego, for instance. And, in the summer of 1986, I've been asked to take over an orchestra series at Helmuth Rilling's Oregon Bach Festival."

Lewis has two more Glendale Symphony concerts this season. The first is Saturday night at 8:30, in the Pavilion of the Music Center, when his soloist is violinist Stuart Canin. The program: the Overture to "Rosamunde" by Schubert, Brahms' Violin Concerto and Georges Bizet's Symphony in C.

DOWNTOWN, THIS WEEK: Herbert Blomstedt (see article on Page 56) is guest conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's subscription concerts this week. But before that, other Philharmonic series beckon:

Monday night, in Japan America Theatre, the Philharmonic's New Music Group, led by guest conductor Stephen Mosko, presents the world premiere performance of Mel Powell's "Modules," the West Coast premiere of Roger Reynolds' "Mistral" and bravura instrumental works by Garth Drozin, Nicholas Thorne and Rand Steiger. Featured soloists will be harpsichordist Neal Stulberg and hornist John Cerminaro.

And Tuesday night, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman plays his first Music Center recital, a program including Beethoven's E-flat Sonata, Opus 27, No. 1; Prokofiev's Sonata No. 3; Szymanowski's Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, Opus 10, and shorter works by Chopin and Liszt.

MORE 'FIGAROS': Changes are afoot in the scheduled visit here by Deutsche Oper of West Berlin, Sept. 9 through 22.

Instead of the two announced evenings to be devoted to operetta excerpts, two more performances of "Le Nozze di Figaro" will be given. Those five performances are scheduled in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center, Sept. 18, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m., and Sept. 22 at 2 p.m.

Two casts will perform Mozart's opera. The first cast, appearing Sept. 18, 20 and 22, lists Lucy Peacock as the Countess, Helen Donath as Susanna, Manfred Roehrl as Figaro and Wolfgang Brendel as the Count. The second cast, scheduled to sing Sept. 19 and 21, promises Pilar Lorengar, Sona Ghazarian, Justino Diaz and Alan Titus in the same roles.

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