Saturday, May 9, 2020

John Malveaux: Los Angeles Philharmonic Centennial Birthday Gala included Zubin Mehta; Calvin Simmons also conducted LA Phil in same era

Zubin Mehta

Calvin Simmons
(Getty Images - Jack Mitchell)

John Malveaux of writes:

LA Phil 100: The Los Angeles Philharmonic Centennial Birthday Gala recorded at Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 24, 2019, aired May 8, 2020 as part of PBS’ Great Performances series. Zubin Mehta,  Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Gustavo Dudamel conducted performances of the LA Phil.  I had recollections beyond the PBS' Great Performances program of the three great Music Directors.  

Maestro Zubin Mehta was music director of LA Phil approx 1962-1978. During the summer of 1972, African American pianist Natalie Hinderas performed at the Hollywood Bowl.  See    

Around 1975 the LA  Phil hired Calvin Simmons as assistant conductor. Although Simmons was later hired as conductor of Oakland Symphony, he continued to guest conduct for LA Phil and other Los Angeles projects.  See brief bio of Calvin Simmons  Also during tenure of Zubin Mehta, Joe Westmoreland was hired as program administrator of LA Phil minority training program. Joe Westmoreland was a songwriter and greatly respected in gospel music circles. 

The LA Phil and Interdenominational Choir under the baton of Calvin Simmons premiered 'SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY' with lyrics by Joe Westmoreland, music by Rene Moore, and orchestration by Coleridge Taylor Perkinson. Additionally, the LA Phil and Interdenominational Choir under Maestro Zubin Mehta toured Israel, Jordan, and other countries.  'SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY' was subsequently recorded by the Dvorak Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Julius Williams. Please listen to recording of 'SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY on YouTube

Separate from LA Phil, Maestro Calvin Simmons conducted the 1976 Los Angeles premiere of William Grant Still opera A BAYOU LEGEND. See

Pic 1 Zubin Mehta, pic 2 Calvin Simmons

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