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Conductor Watch: Three Europeans to Debut

June 18, 1989|DANIEL CARIAGA

Fourteen conductors will occupy the music director-less podium of the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 1989-90 season being announced today.

Some of them--former music director Andre Previn, current principal guest conductor Simon Rattle, Erich Leinsdorf, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kurt Sanderling and Vladimir Ashkenazy--are familiar faces and known quantities. Others--Gennady Rozhdestvensky, David Zinman and Andrew Litton, for example--are less well known to us.

And three of them will be making L.A. Philharmonic debuts in a season when every new podium personality will be scrutinized as a candidate to replace Previn.

Marek Janowski, 50, is the Polish musician who has earned acclaim for his "Ring" cycle on CD and has already conducted at major American opera centers. He made a successful first appearance with the Boston Symphony in February. Janowski is chief conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de France and the Gurzenich Orchester of Cologne, West Germany. His one-week Philharmonic visit takes place April 6-8, when he leads a program of music by Wagner ("Tannhauser" Overture), Chopin (E-minor Piano Concerto, with Horacio Gutierrez) and Schumann ("Rhenish" Symphony).

A native of Prague, Libor Pesek, 56, is principal conductor and artistic adviser of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and conductor-in-residence of the Czech Philharmonic. He leads the Los Angeles orchestra in what reads like an invigorating Mozart/Richard Strauss program, Feb. 15-18: Symphony No. 32, Piano Concerto in A, K. 488 (with Emanuel Ax the soloist); the "Burleske", and "Also sprach Zarathustra." A protege of Karel Ancerl and Vaclav Neumann, Pesek is an experienced opera conductor who has made more than 50 commercial recordings.

The West German conductor, Bruno Weil, 40, is general music director of the city of Augsburg. In 1989, he completes a three-year, three-opera Mozart cycle at the Vienna Volksoper. For his engagement at the L.A. Philharmonic, Dec. 14-17, Weil will lead a Mozart program consisting of the "Don Giovanni" Overture, the Piano Concerto in E-flat, K. 271 (with Olli Mustonen) and the Symphony No. 36 ("Linz").

In this varied season, two conductors will carry the bulk of the programs: Previn, who resigned as Philharmonic music director April 25, will be on the podium for seven weeks; and Sanderling will occupy the position for five weeks. Visiting here for two weeks apiece will be Leinsdorf, Rattle and Litton. The other conductors, including Philharmonic assistants David Alan Miller and Heiichiro Ohyama, will all preside for one week apiece.

The orchestra's Music Center season opens Oct. 5 and closes April 29.

COMPOSERS: The world premiere of "Holy Blood and Crescent Moon" by Stewart Copeland, former drummer of the rock group the Police, will be given by Opera Cleveland in October. . . . Gordon Getty's Falstaff opera, "Plump Jack," heard in a concert-version preview here by L.A. Music Center Opera in 1988, will receive its world premiere performance at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, on July 4. Welsh baritone David Barrell will sing the title role; among the other principals will be William Lewis, Korby Merrick, Jerold Siena and Frank Curtis. . . . New residencies for composers in Boston, San Francisco and Portland have been announced by the National Endowment for the Arts. Anthony Davis will work for seven weeks with Boston Musica Viva; composer and jazz violinist Leroy Jenkins will have a six-week residency with Virtuosi della Rosa in Oregon, and Harvey Sollberger will work with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players for one season. . . . James Hopkins of the composition faculty at the USC school of music has been honored as first-prize winner of the composition contest sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The $1,000 prize was presented last week; the new work will be heard during the AGO's 1989-90 season. . . . Jan Hanus' "Glagolitic" Mass, a work introduced in the United States by the chancel choir of Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church in 1986, will be repeated in a performance by the Choral Society of Southern California, assisted by the chancel choir, next Sunday at 4 p.m. at the church at 505 N. Rodeo Drive. Nick Strimple will conduct; the vocal soloists will be Barbara Hancock, Susan Johnson, Michael Sells and Michael Samford.

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