Tag Archives: Grant Gershon

Grant Gershon’s Conducting Dream

Grant Gershon (left, photo by Ken Lively); Wonderful Town (right, photo by Craig T. Mathew)

Grant Gershon (left, photo by Ken Lively); Wonderful Town (right, photo by Craig T. Mathew)

This month, Grant Gershon is doing something no other person has ever done. He is conducting performances at three of the city’s most celebrated music organizations – LA Opera (Wonderful Town), LA Philharmonic (John Adams’ El Niño), and the LA Master Chorale (Festival of Carols and Handel’s Messiah) – all in one month. This is an exciting time for the renowned conductor and Artistic Director of the Master Chorale, who has a lifelong relationship with the Music Center (including LA Opera).

Gershon is a Californian through and through, hailing from the city of Alhambra, and educated at Chapman University and at the University of Southern California. He first pursued a career as a pianist and was suspicious of conductors with the anti-authoritarian spirit of a teenager growing up in the 1970s. Twenty years later, Gershon found himself at the Music Center, working as an assistant conductor and principal pianist at LA Opera. It was here that Gershon discovered a passion for conducting.

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Grant Gershon on the LA Opera Chorus and the Power of Choral Music

Grant Gershon

Grant Gershon

Every season, LA Opera presents multiple mainstage operas. The operas vary season to season, as does the cast. One thing that remains constant is the chorus. Under Resident Conductor Grant Gershon’s direction, the LA Opera Chorus has evolved into one of the nation’s most renowned choirs.

Gershon – a California native – started working as a pianist at LA Opera in its third season (1988). He remained with the company for six seasons, before moving to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He returned to work with LA Opera in 2007, making his company debut conducting multiple performances of Verdi’s La Traviata in 2009. Additionally, he has worked with the LA Opera Chorus ever since.

When asked what makes the LA Opera chorus unique, Gershon says, “I think that the talent pool in Los Angeles for singers is extraordinary and there’s a long-standing tradition of great solo singing and great ensemble singing in the city. From the beginning, LA Opera has always been able to draw on a really deep pool of talent and on singers who are very well trained and very enthusiastic about singing as an ensemble.” Some choristers have been with the company for over 100 productions; others are just starting their careers as vocalists.

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Sing Along with Great Opera Choruses

Great Opera Choruses (2014); Photo: Jennifer Babcock

Grant Gershon conducting the audience at Great Opera Choruses (2014); Photo: Jennifer Babcock

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sing Carmen? LA Opera is presenting a free concert called Great Opera Concerts on April 10, where you can do just that.

Presented at the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, the concert (which will feature the acclaimed LA Opera Chorus) will begin with Resident Conductor Grant Gershon rehearsing the audience for their sing-along debuts.  Music will be provided in the program to the three sing-along sections: “Habanera” and the “Toreador Song” from Georges Bizet’s Carmen, and the “Anvil Chorus” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

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It’s College GameDay at LA Opera

Across the country, college football teams are taking the field to kick off their season during the annual College GameDay tradition.

College students get an inside look at the staging of an opera

College students get an inside look at the staging of an opera

We’ve got college teams of our own at the LA Opera to help kick off our season.  Through a very special program called Operawise, about 100 college students watched today’s Orchestra Tech rehearsals of Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci… Continue reading

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Music Monday: Gianni Schicchi Orchestra

Orchestra Rehearsal“We are starting in the middle of a huge family fight,” conductor Grant Gershon says as he directs the orchestra during a rehearsal for Gianni Schicchi. They are reviewing the overture and the opening scene of the opera, where family members gather at the deathbed of Buoso Donati. There are moments when Gershon perfectly describes how the music changes to reflect the action on the stage. A section they rehearse contains a large crescendo reminiscent of classic Hollywood-era films (very fitting connection for a Woody Allen production) that lightens towards the end. Gershon says this is the moment where the music “switches to decaff.” Orchestra members laugh at this and play the music accordingly, completely understanding the charming analogy.

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