Chamber orchestra music director Jeffrey Kahane to join USC faculty

Jeffrey Kahane, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, will join the USC Thornton School of Music faculty in 2015.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The USC Thornton School of Music will celebrate the new year by welcoming to its faculty Jeffrey Kahane, pianist and music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Kahane will join the faculty part time in 2015 and will continue part time until he steps down from his LACO post in 2017, representatives from Thornton and the chamber orchestra said Tuesday.

At that point he will have served as the chamber orchestra’s music director for 20 years, longer than any of his predecessors. He then will become the orchestra’s music director laureate and assume a full-time faculty position at USC Thornton.


Kahane said the decision to join Thornton was a recent one. He had been exploring options and several conservatories had offered him positions, but USC proved the best fit -- not just because he and his wife are Los Angeles natives, he said, but because USC “is a great university, not just a conservatory.”

“I have a deep connection to other disciplines besides music,” Kahane says. “I have a degree in classics and am very engaged in literature, and the relationship of literature and music, so I’m excited to bring that perspective to my teaching.”

Robert Cutietta, dean of USC Thornton, is particularly excited about the interdisciplinary approach, Kahane said. He added that his focus will be on teaching piano initially but will broaden over time.

Many L.A. Chamber Orchestra musicians are already faculty members at Thornton, including concertmaster Margaret Batjer, principal cellist Andrew
Shulman and principal oboe Allan Vogel.

The school’s choral ensemble, the USC Thornton Chamber Singers, regularly partners with LACO for performances as part of the latter’s regular subscription series.

Kahane said his departure will be bittersweet.

“I love the orchestra and things are going very well, but it’s been 18 years and I think everything has to change at some point,” he said. “And since I’ll remain the conductor laureate, I’ll have an ongoing relationship with the orchestra, so really with that and Thornton my relationship to Los Angeles is just going to get deeper.”

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