Culver City Symphony Announces Three Music Director Finalists
November 3, 2022
The Culver City Symphony Orchestra announced that three acclaimed conductors will vie for the prestigious Music Director-Conductor position at the Culver City Symphony Orchestra/Marina del Rey Summer Symphony during this coming concert season. Steven Allen Fox, Maxim Kuzin and Clyde Mitchell – all highly talented and experienced – will be featured during this coming winter-spring season. Community members will have the opportunity to make their own judgments about the artistic talents that each conductor could bring to the professional orchestras. The respected long-time Music Director-Conductor of the orchestras, Frank Fetta, passed away in 2021.
All concerts will be free to the public, and presented by the SoCal Symphony Society, the nonprofit organization behind both orchestras. Board President Stephen Turk stated “in almost 60 years, the Orchestra has had only two Music Directors: Frank Fetta and our founder George Berres. We are excited to be embarking on the next stage of the Orchestra’s development as we build on this extraordinary legacy.” The Society also sponsors the annual Parness Concerto Competition for young musicians up to age 25. The 2019 competition winners will perform this year after the orchestras postponed concerts during the Covid-19 shutdown.
All three finalists are committed to programming orchestral favorites and introducing audiences to exciting and beautiful music by lesser known and living composers as well as orchestral music from different genres. All three recognize the premier opportunity to further develop the contribution of the
orchestras to the community, connect with the community and expand the audience for excellent orchestral experiences.
Maxim Kuzin will kick off the season with a December 10 concert starting with the Taras Bulba Overture by Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko, then Alexander Glazunov’s Violin Concerto with Ronnie Zhang, Junior Parness Concerto Competition winner. A Celebration of Dance, symphonic music inspired by Eastern European folkdances, will comprise the second half, including Zoltan Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta, Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, and music by Frederick Chopin, Johann Strass Jr. and Manuel de Falla. The concert will be at 7:30 pm at The Robert Frost Auditorium at Culver City High School. Maestro Kuzin shared his vision for the orchestras, saying: “My aspiration is to expand the rich tradition of high-level music-making of the Culver City and Marina del Rey symphonies as well as deliver a wide variety of engaging, innovative and deeply impactful orchestral performances of classical and pops music that will further develop the orchestras into a well-known and financially thriving regional music organization.”
Clyde Mitchell will conduct the second concert, tentatively scheduled for February 11 at the Frost. The All-Slavic program will include Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto #2, performed by Senior Parness winner Abrianna Church, and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony #9 (“From the New World”). “The Culver City Symphony Orchestra and Marina del Rey Summer Symphony represent the perfect combination of classical masterworks and popular, fun, and sometimes unexpected musical events, such as concerts for kids and families, and music from film, video games, dance and much more!!!” exudes Maestro Mitchell.
Steven Fox will wrap up the season with a concert tentatively scheduled for June, with the program and venue to be announced. “I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Culver City Symphony. Their reputation is of the highest caliber, and it is my honor”, Maestro Fox shared, “anytime I get to work with passionate Musicians, to create an experience that has impact on others -- it fills me with inspiration and joy.”
A fourth free concert is scheduled for May 6 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, with both guest conductor and program to be announced.
ABOUT MAXIM KUZIN
Dr. Maxim Kuzin is currently the Music Director of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, a Lecturer at U.C. Santa Barbara and Music Director of the University’s Chamber Orchestra. He is also the newly appointed Conductor of the Irvine Classical Players youth orchestra. His early musical education was in his native Ukraine, followed by nineteen years of conducting professional and student orchestras, opera companies and choirs in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the United States. He founded the youth music theatre “MAXIMA” and conducted the orchestra for the popular Dancing with the Stars show in Ukraine. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting degree from U.C.L.A.
ABOUT CLYDE MITCHELL
Clyde Mitchell is the Founding Musical Director of both the Lions Gate Sinfonia and the Lions Gate Youth Orchestra, of North Vancouver, Canada. Mitchell is a frequent guest conductor for all of Canada’s major orchestras, as well as orchestras and opera companies in Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S., while living in Southern California. He began his musical career as Principal French Horn with the Orquesta Sinfonia de Colombia, in Bogota, Colombia, followed by the same position with the Tucson Symphony, and then Associate Principal Horn with the renowned Montreal Symphony while teaching at McGill University. He then switched to conducting, receiving his Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting from U.S.C.
ABOUT STEVEN ALLEN FOX
Steven Allen Fox has extensive experience in conducting, in composing music, and in musical productions for many different styles and genres of music. His repertoire ranges from fan favorites film scores to some of the most beloved symphonic works. He is the founding Artistic Director/Conductor of the Golden State Pops Orchestra. On July 22nd he made his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall conducting the inaugural performance of the Los Angeles Film Orchestra. Other notable orchestras he has conducted include the San Francisco Symphony, City of Prague Philharmonic and Orquesta Sinfonics de Tenerife. In his “spare” time he also conducts and directs the El Segundo Concert Band. His education includes a Graduate Certificate in Film Scoring from U.S.C., and a Degree in Music Composition and Theory from Illinois State University.
Given the finalists’ credentials, this season offers another opportunity for patrons to renew Southern California’s favorite rivalry, U.C.L.A. vs. U.S.C.
ABOUT Culver City SYPHONY ORCHESTRA
Founded in 1963 as the Westchester String Orchestra, the orchestra is now a largely professional symphony orchestra, with a small number of talented amateurs and students. It presents three to four concerts in Culver City each season, featuring symphonic music and concertos from the 18th century to contemporary works including music of local composers. 2022 marked the 21st season of its Thursday summer series in Marina del Rey, where it performs as the Marina del Rey Sumer Symphony. It was again named the Best Live Concert Event in the Argonaut’s Best of the Westside reader poll.
The Culver City Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-2023 concert season is made possible, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Department of Arts and Culture, and by the City of Culver City and its Cultural Affairs Commission, with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Culver City Arts Foundation.
For more information about the Orchestra, and updated program information, go to http://www.culvercitysyphony.org.
For more information or comments please contact:
Stephen Turk, President of the Board of Directors, SoCal Symphony Society (and cellist is the orchestras)
Cliff Marcussen, Vice President of the Board of Directors, SoCal Symphony Society and Chair of the Search Committee