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James Conlon

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December 10, 2013 | By David Ng
The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles is launching a new Recovered Voices series with conductor James Conlon that will present performances, seminars and other events focused on composers whose careers were cut short during the Holocaust. Conlon launched Recovered Voices in 2006 at Los Angeles Opera, but the company put the series on indefinite hiatus in 2010 because of budgetary reasons. The new Recovered Voices at the Colburn is being funded by a $1-million grant from Marilyn Ziering, the philanthropist and L.A. Opera board member.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Richard S. Ginell
With some time to kill between performances of "Lucia di Lammermoor" at Los Angeles Opera (the last one is Sunday), the peripatetic James Conlon merely had to cross 1st Street in order to lead the first of three subscription concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday night. It's hardly news that Conlon seems to be everywhere these days, but it's still a phenomenon worth noting. Indeed, Conlon turned up at the pre-concert lecture and later spent several minutes talking to the audience in the main hall about one of his Recovered Voices subjects: the strange, sad and remarkable career of Erwin Schulhoff.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 20, 2012 | By David Ng
James Conlon, the music director of Los Angeles Opera, was in Milan, Italy, this week to conduct the opening-night ballet performance of Hector Berlioz's "Romeo and Juliet" at La Scala. But as things sometimes happen in Italy, Wednesday's big opening was canceled due to a strike by members of the chorus. A notice on the website for Teatro alla Scala read that the performance was called off due to the strike organized by unions representing the chorus.  The new production of Berlioz's piece features choreography by Sasha Waltz and is a co-production between La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opéra National de Paris.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
The sound of a woman descending into madness is rich and piercing - and oddly beautiful. In a quiet rehearsal room at the Los Angeles Opera, music director James Conlon gathers about half a dozen people around a grand piano. Among them is Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova and French musician Thomas Bloch, who's just arrived from Paris with a rare, treasured instrument, the glass harmonica. Bloch takes a seat at what looks like an antique pedal sewing machine with gold-rimmed glass discs rotating on its spindle.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 2010 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
Some conductors have an affinity for certain compositions, returning to them obsessively throughout their careers. James Conlon's relationship with Verdi's "Rigoletto" goes beyond a professional interest. The oft-revived warhorse, which he is conducting this month at Los Angeles Opera, is a work that has occupied his mind since adolescence. Conlon's association with "Rigoletto" began when he was a 12-year-old living in Queens, New York. It was early 1963, and the young musician had encountered Verdi's opera for the first time as a student.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 23, 2010 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
James Conlon is in a hurry. At a Grand Avenue crosswalk on a recent morning, he is repeatedly pushing the button to cross the street. Tap, tap, tap, tap. His efforts don't make the lights change any faster. He has to wait like everyone else. Conlon, who is the music director of the Los Angeles Opera, doesn't like to stay still. Not even for a minute. He's on his way to Starbucks for his morning cappuccino fix. It's surprising that Conlon needs stimulants at all. The conductor is his own internal combustion engine, giving off sparks that can either dazzle or burn, depending on how close you want to get. Since he arrived at L.A. Opera in 2006, Conlon has worked to put his personal stamp on the young company.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2013 | By David Ng
James Conlon is a born and bred New Yorker but sunny Los Angeles apparently agrees with him. The 62-year-old conductor has renewed his contract with the Los Angeles Opera for five more years, and will remain music director at least through the end of the 2017-18 season. The company made the announcement Wednesday evening at an event honoring Conlon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Conlon works closely at L.A. Opera with Plácido Domingo, the tenor who is the general director of the company.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Richard S. Ginell
With some time to kill between performances of "Lucia di Lammermoor" at Los Angeles Opera (the last one is Sunday), the peripatetic James Conlon merely had to cross 1st Street in order to lead the first of three subscription concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday night. It's hardly news that Conlon seems to be everywhere these days, but it's still a phenomenon worth noting. Indeed, Conlon turned up at the pre-concert lecture and later spent several minutes talking to the audience in the main hall about one of his Recovered Voices subjects: the strange, sad and remarkable career of Erwin Schulhoff.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 19, 1987 | JOHN HENKEN
Though founded nearly 70 years ago, the Rotterdam Philharmonic is in many ways the quintessential orchestra of the '80's. It has a young conductor--American James Conlon, appointed in 1983--and a new recording company, Erato, which has issued nine well-received discs by the orchestra. The Rotterdam Philharmonic also has the taut, brilliant sound and clarified textures of the CD generation. Friday evening, the Dutch orchestra displayed its manifold virtues at Marsee Auditorium, El Camino College.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2007 | Chris Pasles, Times Staff Writer
AFTER just a few months on the job, Los Angeles Opera music director James Conlon has already had a salutary effect on the company's orchestra. "We've all played with a lot of conductors," says concertmaster Stuart Canin, "but James' rehearsal technique is way beyond everyone else's. He has a way of doing things so that we get to hear the other sections and connect with them, and that's what makes a great ensemble." Others have been impressed as well.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
Who knew the sound of insanity could be so beautiful? We had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of Los Angeles Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," which opens Saturday. The afternoon was the very first time cast or crew would be rehearsing with the rare, treasured instrument -- the glass harmonica -- that Donizetti intended for his tragic opera of love and madness. French musician Thomas Bloch had arrived from Paris only the night before, with the glass harmonica in tow. The scene being rehearsed was the climax of the Italian opera, in which the fragile, young Lucia -- played by Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova -- goes crazy after being forced by her family to break ties with her lover and marry another man. Because of the range of sounds it makes, from hollow and deep to eerie and shrill, the glass harmonica was key to Donizetti's vision for the scene; in the 1700s, the instrument was even reputed to invoke insanity among listeners.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
A bellicose anti-war opera, Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" is a stifling shipboard drama with only strong male voices, a theater of testosterone. Manhood stands trial. In 1951, the year of its premiere, "Billy Budd" bravely evoked homoeroticism on the British lyric stage when homosexuality was outlawed. Britten further bravely insinuated disapproval of the military code when his country was recovering from World War II. Praise comes easily to "Billy Budd. " It is consummate music theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 3, 2014 | By David Ng
Maximilian Schell, the commanding Austrian-born actor who died Saturday at 83, is being remembered in obituaries for his long movie career, especially his Oscar-winning role in "Judgment at Nuremberg. " In Los Angeles, audiences had the good fortune to appreciate another side of Schell -- opera director. Schell was a friend of Plácido Domingo, and the tenor brought Schell to Southern California to direct two productions at L.A. Opera -- " Lohengrin " in 2001 and " Der Rosenkavalier " in 2005.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By David Ng
The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles is launching a new Recovered Voices series with conductor James Conlon that will present performances, seminars and other events focused on composers whose careers were cut short during the Holocaust. Conlon launched Recovered Voices in 2006 at Los Angeles Opera, but the company put the series on indefinite hiatus in 2010 because of budgetary reasons. The new Recovered Voices at the Colburn is being funded by a $1-million grant from Marilyn Ziering, the philanthropist and L.A. Opera board member.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 24, 2013 | By Richard S. Ginell
Can a serious, lengthy, topical piece of contemporary music make an impact beyond the classical music scene and possibly change the world a little bit in doing so? That's what happened with Benjamin Britten's unorthodox "War Requiem," which scored an unlikely immediate hit in 1962. For James Conlon, who will conduct the "War Requiem" just days after the composer's 100th birthday, the piece has been a touchstone in his career. He has conducted it on special occasions, such as the 50th anniversary of V-E Day in Paris, and one month after 9/11 in Carnegie Hall.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013 | By David Ng
James Conlon, music director of Los Angeles Opera, will have surgery to have part of his colon removed. The 63-year-old conductor is suffering from an inflamed portion of his colon as a result of diverticulitis, the company said. The surgery, which will take place in New York, will force Conlon to miss scheduled performances at the Ravinia Festival on Aug. 17 and the La Jolla Music Society on Aug. 23. The conductor is scheduled to rest for three to four weeks following the procedure, according to his representative.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2010 | By Yvonne Villarreal
They dashed up the wet steps that led into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, careful not to be late. Some were in jeans and sneakers. Others in their finest attire. Each made her or his way inside and through the pews. Then Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik appeared. Standing at the altar, which was transformed into a stage with draperies and movable set pieces, Kostelnik clearly wasn't there to begin another Mass service. On this day, the cathedral was a theater. And Kostelnik was there to help introduce the show.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 24, 2013 | By Richard S. Ginell
Can a serious, lengthy, topical piece of contemporary music make an impact beyond the classical music scene and possibly change the world a little bit in doing so? That's what happened with Benjamin Britten's unorthodox "War Requiem," which scored an unlikely immediate hit in 1962. For James Conlon, who will conduct the "War Requiem" just days after the composer's 100th birthday, the piece has been a touchstone in his career. He has conducted it on special occasions, such as the 50th anniversary of V-E Day in Paris, and one month after 9/11 in Carnegie Hall.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 25, 2013 | By David Ng
Conductor James Conlon, the music director of Los Angeles Opera, has received an award from a Jewish group for his work in resurrecting long-forgotten and rarely performed pieces by composers whose careers were cut short during the Holocaust. Conlon was honored Tuesday with the 2012 Cohon Award for his work in the creative arts fields. The annual award, which comes with a monetary prize, is organized by the Rabbi Samuel S. and A. Irma Cohon Memorial Foundation in Illinois. Conlon asked that the $30,000 prize be directed to the OREL Foundation, a nonprofit group that the conductor founded to help educate the public about the music of composers suppressed by the Nazis.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 29, 2013 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
L.A. added two new million-dollar-a-year executives to the ranks of its top-paid arts leaders during 2011, although two existing members of the seven-person club had to get by with less than they'd made in 2010. Increases for Music Center President Stephen Rountree and Los Angeles Opera music director James Conlon put them above $1 million in total wages and benefits, according to the organizations' recently filed federal tax returns for the 2011-12 fiscal year that ended last June 30, the most recent period for which figures are available.
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