Now in its 16th season, the COLBURN ORCHESTRA is the flagship ensemble of the Colburn Conservatory of Music. Under the direction of Music Director Yehuda Gilad, the Colburn Orchestra performs for Southern California audiences at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ambassador Auditorium, Royce Hall, Segerstrom Concert Hall, and The Soraya (formerly Valley Performing Arts Center).
Since its inception, Gilad and the esteemed Colburn faculty have invited leading guest artists to perform with the Colburn Orchestra to mirror a professional orchestral experience. Previous visiting conductors include James Conlon, Plácido Domingo, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Nicolas McGegan, Ludovic Morlot, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Guest soloists include violinists Joshua Bell, Cho-Liang Lin, Elmar Oliveira, and Pinchas Zukerman; soprano Elizabeth Hynes; mezzo-sopranos Sasha Cooke and Michelle DeYoung; pianist Vladimir Feltsman; and saxophonist Claude Delangle. Acclaimed artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlman actively worked with the orchestra during its inaugural year.
The ensemble made its U.K. debut at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2018, followed by a performance in Dublin. In 2012, the Colburn Orchestra opened the Grammy Foundation’s 14th Annual Music Preservation Project, One Night Only: A Celebration of the Live Music Experience, sharing the stage with Grammy Award winners, nominees, and stars of the future from all musical genres. In 2010, Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino conducted the Colburn Orchestra at Royce Hall in a special concert, “Lost” Live: The Final Celebration,coinciding with the finale of the worldwide hit television show. In October 2007, the Colburn Orchestra participated in the International Youth Orchestra Festival in Los Angeles, together with the Sibelius Academy Youth Orchestra and the USB Verbier Festival Orchestra. The ten-day festival included the orchestra playing in master classes led by Esa-Pekka Salonen and his teacher, Jorma Panula, as well as performances with musicians from Finland’s prestigious Sibelius Academy.
The Colburn Orchestra has made four commercial recordings. The first, released by Live Classics in 2006, features the music of Menachem Wiesenberg, including his Cello Concerto with retired faculty member Ron Leonard as soloist. The orchestra’s second album, If You Love for Beauty, recorded in Zipper Hall on the Colburn campus and released in August 2012 on the Yarlung Records label, features mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke in works by John Adams, Chausson, Handel, and Mahler. This was followed by the critically-acclaimed 2013 Bridge Records release, When Soft Voices Die, featuring Colburn faculty member Paul Coletti as soloist in the recording premiere of Paul Chihara’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. In 2014, the orchestra’s live performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, led by guest conductor Gerard Schwarz, was released by Yarlung Records. In 2012 and 2013, the Colburn Orchestra and Chamber Music Series concerts were recorded in HD and broadcast on the arts series Open Call on Southern California’s independent television station KCET.
Dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community, the Colburn Orchestra performs for schools in neighboring communities twice a year, giving five concerts in a one-week period to school children of all ages.