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James Conlon honored for promoting music suppressed by Nazis

James Conlon honored for promoting music suppressed by Nazis
Conductor James Conlon leads students at Zipper Auditorium in 2012. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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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.

In past seasons at LA Opera, Conlon led a related series called Recovered Voices that presented productions of operas by such composers as Franz Schreker, Viktor Ullmann and Alexander von Zemlinsky at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

But the series has been absent from the company's mainstage schedule since 2010 due to budget constraints.

Instead, Conlon has conducted a scaled down version of the series, with musicians from the Colburn School and members of LA Opera's young musicians program.

Conlon will next appear at the Dorothy Chandler in November for L.A. Opera's production of Verdi's "Falstaff."

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