Service Planned for Leslie Hodge, Concert Pianist

A memorial service for Leslie Hodge, a concert pianist and the first resident conductor of the San Diego Philharmonic, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Florence Riford Senior Club, 1811 La Jolla Blvd.

Hodge, who lived in La Jolla, was known for his warmth and harmonious relations with musicians when he served as Philharmonic conductor in 1950 and 1951. He pioneered a series of children's concerts with the Philharmonic.

The Philharmonic produced a winter series of concerts from 1950 to 1953 in the old Russ Auditorium. As conductor, Hodge was instrumental in helping the players of the San Diego Symphony realize a "year-round" season during this period. At the time, the symphony had only a summer classical music series.

Hodge, who had taught piano here for 18 years, was killed Dec. 6 in an automobile accident on Interstate 5 near Sorrento Valley. He was 75.

Hodge was the founding conductor of the Guadalajara Symphony in Mexico, where he spent seven years, learning Spanish in the process of making music. Hodge was conductor of the Phoenix Symphony from 1952 to 1959, and spent six years guest conducting in Europe.

A native of Albany, Western Australia, Hodge began playing the piano when he was 4 and was performing solo concerts at the age of 11. He took his post-graduate degree in music from the University of Melbourne before emigrating to the United States.

During World War II, he joined the Navy as an apprentice seaman and participated in four invasions of Italy and the Murmansk supply run to Russia during World War II.

Hodge is survived by his wife, Barbara, and four stepdaughters, J. Lauren Bellinger and Megan, Alison and Cameron Bardrick. The family requested that contributions be sent to the Leslie Hodge Memorial Fund at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla 92037.

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