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It's a new day for Pasadena Symphony and James DePreist

October 22, 2010 |  3:58 pm

It started with a phone call last spring. Conductor James DePreist said he had no idea the financially struggling Pasadena Symphony was looking for an artistic advisor.

“So my agent calls and asks if I’m interested,” DePreist recalled. “He says, ‘In Pasadena they’re looking.’ All I knew was how beautiful the place was and that my friend Jorge Mester had been music director there. In large measure because of Jorge and all the others trying to right the ship, I said yes, knowing it was going to be a difficult task, fraught with dangers, especially financially.”

EntBlog_Photo330 Now — in two concerts on Saturday — DePreist is leading his first concert with the Pasadena Symphony, where he’s signed a yearlong contract to help right the troubled ensemble.

“I have the luxury of giving advice without having the responsibility of the execution of those ideas or their acceptance or rejection,” said the conductor. “If one has experience with orchestras, you’re trying to share that, and it’s rather important that the advice be serious. To that extent, a thoughtful appreciation of the situation is paramount.”

Click here to read about DePreist and this new chapter for Pasadena Symphony, and click above for a photo gallery of DePreist rehearsing with the orchestra.

— David Mermelstein

Photo: James DePreist is the new artistic advisor for the Pasadena Symphony. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times.