Symphony Lists 4 Noted Guest Conductors for Next Season

Times Staff Writer

After the loss of two musical advisers in two years, the Glendale Symphony Orchestra will have four big-name musicians as guest conductors during the 1985-86 season instead of a new permanent leader at the podium.

However, symphony officials say that the guest conductors--Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, Anshel Brusilow and John Williams--are all under consideration to become musical adviser and permanent conductor the following season.

"A ship does need a rudder," said Harlan Huebner, president of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn. "But we checked with enough people to find out that one season with guest conductors will not be detrimental to the orchestra as a whole."

The symphony still feels the loss of Carmen Dragon, its leader for 19 years until his death in 1984, musicians and board members say. Dragon's successor, Daniel Lewis, lasted one year in the job and left after he reportedly failed to sway the symphony board to switch from the orchestra's traditional fare of light classics and Pops to more contemporary and what Huebner called "heavier" classical music.

'Feeling Our Way'

"When you have one person for 19 years, it is a new experience to go out and locate a new conductor," Huebner said. "I think that this year we're kind of feeling our way along. But it will be a very nice season."

The orchestra board and musicians are hoping that any lingering bad publicity from Lewis' departure will be overcome by this season's line-up of nationally known conductors, three of whom--Schifrin, Mancini and Williams--are extremely popular composers of movie and television music.

"I think this is a step in the right direction. I think the audiences will like it," Sheridon Stokes, the orchestra's first-chair flutist, said of the upcoming season of seven evenings at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. He said that having four conductors, each choosing music, will lend an unusual degree of variety. "It's almost as if each conductor is trying to outdo each other," he said.

Stuart Canin, concertmaster and violinist, said he was pleased with the line-up and that it is normal for an orchestra to try out conductors before choosing a permanent one. "This gives everyone a chance to calm down and reflect a bit on the future of the orchestra," he said.

Shirley Seeley, a volunteer who is full-time administrator of the symphony, said the board hopes to choose a new musical adviser by next spring. She said that 55 people have sent in resumes for the job and that the board has talked to several others.

"We are looking for that one wonderful person who wants to conduct an orchestra of our size and can get that special ignition with the audience going," he said. "We are looking for another successful marriage."

The symphony is widely considered to be Glendale's most important cultural and social organization. Its board and auxiliary groups are strongly supported by Glendale's wealthy business community. It was founded 62 years ago as a partly amateur group and is now made up of professional free-lance musicians, many of whom make their livings playing at movie and television studios.

Musicians and some board members said they thought it unlikely that Mancini or Williams would enter into a long-term relationship with the symphony because their fees are so high and they have so many other commitments.

Boston Pops Conductor

Williams is the conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra and has won four Oscars and 15 Grammies for his scores for such films as "Jaws," "Star Wars" and "E.T."

Mancini, who composed such hit movie themes as "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses," has four Oscars and 20 Grammies, and guest-conducts around the country. For Glendale, both men are to conduct pops concerts that are expected to feature their own music. Mancini is scheduled for Nov. 23, and Williams for April 12.

Symphony members said it appeared more likely that Schifrin or Brusilow might be chosen as musical adviser.

The Argentine-born Schifrin has won four Grammies and is known for his scores for the "Mission: Impossible" TV series and such films as "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Competition." He has also composed concert pieces, including Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, which was premiered by Angel Romero and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra last year at the Hollywood Bowl.

Schifrin has guest-conducted widely and is now music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in Los Angeles.

Schifrin Met With Board

In a telephone interview from his Beverly Hills home, Schifrin said he enjoyed meeting with the Glendale Symphony board earlier this year. "They question everything," he said. "I don't mind that. I like that. It helps me to understand their problems."

Asked whether he would like to take the Glendale post and what he sees for the symphony's future, Schifrin replied: "I don't like hypotheses . . .

"I am a guest in the real sense of the word. When somebody invites me to their home, I do my job. They may be experimenting to see what direction they want to take. But I'm not questioning their policies."

Schifrin said he has worked with many of the Glendale Symphony players before at movie studios and is impressed with the orchestra's healthy finances.

Brusilow Interested in Job

Symphony officials say that 41% of last year's budget was met by ticket sales--considered unusually high in an era of enormous deficits by performing-arts companies. The rest of the nearly $420,000 budget was met by donations, government grants and funds from the association's investments.

Brusilow said in a telephone interview from Dallas, where he is director of orchestral activities at Southern Methodist University, that he was interested in becoming Glendale's conductor.

Brusilow is a former concert violinist and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He founded the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and conducted the Dallas Symphony. He also guest-conducts widely, including one concert with the Glendale in 1971.

Brusilow also used the analogy of the guest season as a possible courtship before a wedding. "If you are going to make the marriage, you better be sure with whom you're getting involved," he said.

Happy With Pops

Brusilow said that he would be happy to stick with the symphony's mixture of Pops and familiar classics, which he said was similar to that of the Dallas Symphony. But he said it could be difficult for anyone to replace Dragon, who was beloved by many subscribers.

"That's something only time could heal," he said. "It's like when someone has a new wife and the children still relate to the old one."

On Oct. 19, Schifrin is to conduct "Carmen Suite No.1" by Georges Bizet, "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5" by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Piano Concerto in E Flat by Franz Liszt, "La Valse" by Maurice Ravel and "West Side Story Symphonic Dances" by Leonard Bernstein. The pianist will be Daniel Pollack.

On Dec. 10 and 16, Schifrin will lead evenings of classical and traditional Christmas music, with Ricardo Montalban as narrator and the Northridge Masterworks Chorale singing.

Brusilow Program

On Jan. 18, Brusilow is scheduled to conduct "American Festival Overture" by Robert Schuman, Violin Concerto in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn with Erick Friedman as guest violinist and Symphony No. 2 in D by Sibelius.

On Feb. 22, Brusilow's program is to include Piano Concerto by Samuel Barber with pianist Tedd Joselson, "Benvenuto Cellini Overture" by Hector Berlioz, "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Claude Debussy and "Der Rosenkavalier Suite" by Richard Strauss.

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