Dear Friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you well and that your spring season was fun and fruitful.

As an American music director and conductor, I’ve been working toward answers that our industry desperately needs to address in order to survive ever-changing times.
New concert experiences at the New West Symphony
In my new role as music director of New West Symphony in Southern California, we will be addressing two big opportunities as we launch our 25th season: patron/artist interaction and the role of newer music in our concert programming, building a consistent approach that will grow trust and enhance our brand. We will be exploring a largely untapped moment in the concert experience – INTERMISSION. What if patrons had an option (at every performance!) to further their concert experience during some or all of the intermission break? 
Fun photo op at New West Symphony, making it official with Board Chair Kim Woods! Photo by Kenny Baker
Intermission Insights will be a 10-minute onstage interview between myself and our guest artist or orchestra member, allowing us to reflect on the preceding performance and giving patrons an opportunity to ask questions. I’ve been conducting these interviews for 15 years and, without fail, more than half the audience participates.

During the second portion of the intermission, we are introducing a program called Entr’Acte, where we perform a short new/newer work. This season will feature works by three women and three men from different eras with different aesthetics. With Entr’Acte, we are saying to our community that there will always be something new to hear, and we’re giving them the choice to participate. We foresee that this will give us more freedom with our programming and will also force us to be more selective about what we perform because of the overall length of the evening and the impact on performers. We will be surveying our audience, and I’ll report back as we gather responses.
Ideas for my opera colleagues

I also encourage my opera colleagues to take a look at the intermission opportunity. What if you performed a scene or an aria of a new/newer opera onstage in front of the curtain with piano and one of your resident artists?

I think we should also look into Met Opera style video presentations of what happens backstage if you don’t already leave your house curtain up to show the set change. Pre-tape the “interviews” during one of the orchestra dress rehearsals and play it on theatre video monitors or on a screen dropped in front of the main curtain. Give people the choice to know more!

One other idea for my opera colleagues. There is a notoriously uncomfortable moment we experience on the opening night of every production when the stage director and the design team come out for their bow. The vast majority of the audience is asking “WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE??!!”

Use your title screen to list their names and functions. Have each person step out a few seconds after the other even if they end up bowing together. As we diversify our teams and bring new people into our opera families, we need to remain vigilant for the operagoer that wants to know more.
Recent and upcoming highlights
With my recent conducting engagements, I enjoyed working with colleagues at the Lyric Opera of Chicago ( La Traviata), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera ( Rigoletto), New West Symphony (Chopin, Bates, Schumann), Michigan Opera Theatre ( Grapes of Wrath), Ryan Opera Center (opera scenes), and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in partnership with the Ryan Opera Center. I’m now conducting La Bohème at Des Moines Metro Opera.

Thanks for all the kind notes about The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs Grammy win. Getting the trophy and associated swag was lots of fun!
Working on La Traviata at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Photos by Todd Rosenberg
I’m looking forward to my first season as Music Director of New West Symphony, plus conducting at Lyric Opera of Kansas City ( Abduction from the Seraglio), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera ( All Mozart), Indiana University Opera ( Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicci), and San Francisco Opera ( The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs).

I’m also looking forward to taking my children to a week of Suzuki instruction at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, WI, and a two-week driving vacation of northern Minnesota. Striking that work/life balance is tricky, but we are working on it with every fiber of our being!

Enjoy your summer!

Upcoming Events

June 28-July 21, 2019 - Des Moines Metro Opera
Puccini's La Bohème
Des Moines Metro Opera
Indianola, IA

September 21-29, 2019 - Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio
The Kauffman Center
Kansas City, MO

October 5-6, 2019 - New West Symphony
25th Season Salute
with the Marcus Roberts Trio
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard, CA

​November 8-9, 2019 - Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera
All Mozart
Fremont Presbyterian Church
Sacramento, CA

​November 16-17, 2019 - New West Symphony
Trip the Light Fantastic
with Jason Vieaux, guitar; Julien Labro, bandoneon
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard, CA

​February 7-8, 14-15, 2020 - IU Opera and Ballet Theater
Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
Indiana University Musical Arts Center
Bloomington, IN

​February 29-March 1, 2020 - New West Symphony
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard, CA

​April 18-19, 2020 - New West Symphony
Violins of Hope
with Olga Kern, piano
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard, CA

​May 2-3, 2020 - New West Symphony
Brahms' Violin Concerto and Sibelius' Symphony No. 3
with Sarah Chang, violin
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA
Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard, CA

​June 20-July 3, 2020 - San Francisco Opera
Mason Bates & Mark Campbell's The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco, CA
Ron Merlino, MusicVine
646*825*9585 |

Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists
646*536*7864 |