Conductor/clarinetist Yehuda Gilad has an increasingly rigorous schedule teaching and performing. Music director of the Santa Monica Symphony and the Joyeux Woodwind Chamber Players--which he leads in concert tonight at Loyola Marymount University--and teacher at USC and the Community School of Performing Arts, Gilad was recently named music director of the Colonial Symphony in New Jersey, and his calendar lists future engagements in New York, Seattle, Germany, Israel and possibly China, if he can arrange a visa.
But for Gilad, his varied activities all come together in the Strawberry Creek Festival, a best-of-both-worlds situation.
"The philosophy of the festival, in general, is that we give students a taste of professional music-making, working in ensemble with pros, under a professional rehearsal schedule," Gilad states. "The idea is to give indoor summer concerts in a warm, intimate setting."
With bassoonist Kenneth Munday, Gilad founded the Strawberry Creek Festival in 1984 in Idyllwild. The festival has since moved to Pepperdine University in Malibu.
The festival runs July 17-31 for the student participants, who will attend master classes--open to auditors--as well as prepare chamber music and symphonic literature. New this year is a vocal program, led by Val Underwood and Juliana Gondek.
Gilad is a notable pedagogue; the Trio con Brio that he coached recently became one of the youngest ensembles to ever win a major award at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition.
He sees his job with the Strawberry Creek students as "trying to instill values, discipline and humanity in making music, and the fact that they must enjoy it--even to play a C-major scale."
That spirit is something that Gilad looks for in all of his orchestras.
"I insist that they have that spark in their eyes. I don't care if it's Beethoven's Fifth, or Philip Glass."
The orchestra with which Gilad has "the most fun" is the Strawberry Creek Symphony, with its mix of advanced students and enthusiastic professionals. But taking the directorship of the Santa Monica Symphony--basically a community orchestra--in 1981 was "the best thing I could have done, rather than becoming assistant conductor at a major orchestra."
Among the advantages of this approach to career-building, Gilad cites learning repertory, programming and how to deal with a board of directors. "I prefer to do it my own way," he says, "to fall on my face and pick myself up."
For the public, the Strawberry Creek Festival this season begins July 21 with a Baroque program. The gala opening orchestral concert is July 23, with pianist Daniel Pollack the soloist. The final concert, July 31, is a celebration of Israel's 40th anniversary. All concerts are in Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine.
And the future?
"The way I see it, the festival will grow to four weeks in 1991," Gilad says, with staged opera a possibility "in the far future. I like to do things slowly, but with a lot of depth."
OTHER LOCAL FESTIVALS: Ravi Shankar will play a concert May 29 at the Festival Bowl in Ojai to benefit the Ojai Festival, which runs the following weekend, June 3-5. . . . The Oakleaf Festival, at the Conejo Community Park in Thousand Oaks June 18 and 19, offers both big band jazz and orchestral pops. . . . The List-Glenn Institute at Cal State L.A. is presenting a festival, July 5 through Aug. 7, celebrating chamber music for piano and strings.
PHILHARMONIC ON TOUR: Andre Previn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic begins a 10-day East Coast tour tomorrow with a concert in Hartford, Conn. The repertory includes Previn's own Piano Concerto, and Harold Shapero's "Symphony for Classical Orchestra," which the orchestra recorded in live performances at the Music Center two weeks ago. Soloists on the tour are Vladimir Ashkenazy (in the Previn Concerto) and Vladimir Feltsman (in Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto).
TWISTED SPRING: The first installments of what promises to become an annual May dance series at LACE begin next weekend. Choreographers/dancers Carol Cetrone, Tina Gerstler, Karen Goodman and the duo of Karen Johnson and Steven Paxton offer recent, new and in-progress works May 13-15. Two weeks later, "Twisted Spring" continues with performances from Sandra Christensen, Naomi Goldberg, Anthony Ledesma, and Anita Pace and Benjamin Weissman, May 27-29.
BASSOON MONSOON: Ears, eyes and minds may well boggle when the 40 bassoonists of "The Monsoon Band" take the stage at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in N.Y., May 16. Loren Glickman, bassoonist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center conceived the idea, to start a fund-raising project to endow the society's bassoon position. Part-time tootlers such as Gene Shalit and Peter Schickele (P.D.Q. Bach) join pros in the blow-out.
HOUSTON MEMORIAL: Robert Houston, a long-time producer, organizer, fund-raiser and advocate for the local dance community who died four years ago, is being remembered with memorial scholarships, established by Frederick Sauls. The scholarships will provide tuition for male and female ballet students to study with Gene Marinaccio. Interested dancers should send a resume and pictures to Sauls at the Figtree Theatre, 1110 N. Hudson Ave., Hollywood, 90038.