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  • WDCH
  • Apr. 18, 2004
  • Program Includes World Premiere of Lesemann's Grand Hope Crossing

    Violinist Sheryl Staples and Former Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Cellist Ron Leonard are Featured Soloists in Double Concerto by Brahms

    SUNDAY, APRIL 18, AT 7:30 PM

    The USC Thornton Symphony, one of the nation's premier collegiate symphonic ensembles, performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall in a program led by principal conductor Sergiu Comissiona (pictured) on Sunday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. The program includes the world premiere of Lesemann's Grand Hope Crossing, a concert overture composed in celebration of the appearance of the USC Thornton Symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall during the venue's inaugural season. The program also includes the Brahms Double Concerto and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. Violinist Sheryl Staples and former Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Cellist Ronald Lenoard are featured soloists.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association's presentation of USC Thornton Symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall is part of the Philharmonic's Sounds About Town series, a program of six Sunday evenings at Walt Disney Concert Hall highlighting the Los Angeles area's premier youth orchestras. The series concludes with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra on May 2.

    Since its inception in the early 1900s, the USC THORNTON SYMPHONY has been a visible artistic presence in the Los Angeles music community. It works regularly with some of the world's greatest conductors, composers and musicians such as Henryk Górecki, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Joan Tower, Larry J. Livingston, Jacek Kaspszyk, the Romeros, the late Isaac Stern and most recently Yo-Yo Ma. This continues a long-standing tradition of collaborations with major figures in the field of music, from Bruno Walter and Leopold Stokowski to Witold Lutoslawski--historic collaborations that define this orchestra as one with tremendous range and ability. Górecki claimed it to be the best musical ensemble he had personally worked with after he conducted his Third Symphony in the West Coast premiere from the Bovard stage at USC in 1997.

    SERGIU COMISSIONA is renowned throughout the world as one of the most dynamic, sensitive, and experienced conductors of our time. A familiar podium figure in more than 25 countries, Comissiona has led virtually all of the world's major symphonic ensembles in performances that have been acclaimed for their interpretative fire, musical insight, and orchestral discipline. Comissiona currently holds several important musical posts: Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of Israel's Jerusalem Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Georges Enescu Bucharest Philharmonic, Conductor Laureate of the Baltimore Symphony, and Principal Guest Conductor of the University of Southern California's Thornton Symphony in Los Angeles. Highlights of Maestro Comissiona's 2003-04 North America season include performances with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Thornton Symphony of the University of Southern California, and conducting assignments at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

    RONALD LEANOARD has had a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist and teacher. He was a winner of the Walter Naumburg Competition while a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole. His first professional position was as a cellist in the Cleveland Orchestra, where he sat on the second stand. Two years later Leonard became principal cellist of the Rochester Philharmonic and at that time began teaching at the Eastman School of Music. He taught at Eastman for 17 years, spent one year as cellist of the Vermeer Quartet, and then was appointed principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a post he held for 24 years. During this entire period he has been very active as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Conducting is his most recent activity; Leonard is the conductor of the Colburn Chamber Orchestra and he has been very involved at the USC Thornton School of Music working with the string sections of both the USC Thornton Symphony and the USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra. He holds the title of Gregor Piatigorsky Professor of Cello at the USC Thornton School of Music.

    Violinist SHERYL STAPLES joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Associate Concertmaster in September 1998. In addition to her orchestral career, she has performed as soloist with more than 40 orchestras nationwide, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Albany Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic. She made her solo debut with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic in 1999, performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and has since performed concertos of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Haydn. An active chamber musician, Staples has participated in the Santa Fe, La Jolla, Brightstar, Martha's Vineyard and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals. She has been a faculty artist at the Aspen, Bowdoin and Sarasota music festivals. Staples appears on three Stereophile compact discs with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In the New York area, she performs with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles and the Lyric Chamber Music Society. She earned an Artist Diploma from the USC Thornton School of Music. Her principal teacher was Robert Lipsett.


    SUNDAY, APRIL 18 AT 7:30 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    SERGIU COMISSIONA, principal conductor


    SHERYL STAPLES, violin

    LESEMANN Grand Hope Crossing (world premiere)

    BRAHMS Double Concerto

    BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

    Tickets ($15 - $35) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For more information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Ryan Jimenez, 213.972.3405