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Pasadena Symphony brings in five guest conductors for 2010-11 season

July 9, 2010 |  5:55 am

Ambassador Since the controversial departure of its music director Jorge Mester in May, the Pasadena Symphony has been without a conductor for the 2010-11 season. On Thursday, the orchestra announced that it will use five guest conductors to lead a total of five classical concert series.

As was previously reported, James DePreist will conduct the two opening concerts of the 2010-11 season on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The concerts will feature solo violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, and will include pieces by Rossini, Barber and Brahms.

DePreist, who is the director of conducting and orchestral studies at the Juilliard School in New York, has also been hired by the financially troubled orchestra to serve as an artistic advisor.

Conductor Tito Muñoz will lead the orchestra for two concerts on Jan. 22. Muñoz is currently the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he was appointed by Franz Welser-Möst in April 2007. The concerts will feature solo cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, and will include pieces by Britten, Dvorak and Elgar.

Taking the podium for the two concerts on Feb. 19 will be conductor Matthias Bamert. Robert Thies will appear as solo pianist and the orchestra will perform pieces by Schumann, Mozart and a composition written by the conductor himself.

Conductor George Stelluto will lead the orchestra for two concerts on March 12 featuring music by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Armenian composer Khachatur Avetisyan. Stelluto is a resident conductor at the Juilliard School and music director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

For the final two performances on May 7, conductor Maximiano Valdés will lead the orchestra in music by Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Pianist Chu-Fang Huang will perform with the orchestra.

All classical performances will take place at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.

Paul Jan Zdunek, the chief executive officer of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, has stated that the symphony orchestra will work with a series of guest conductors for the foreseeable future with no set timetable for naming a new music director. 

The reason behind Mester's departure from the symphony orchestra in May still remains unclear. Zdunek stated that the conductor unilaterally decided to leave while contract negotiations were still underway. Mester's representative said the conductor was fired.

Mester had declined repeated requests for comment.

-- David Ng

Photo: the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. Credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

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