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September 3, 2001

UCSC alum Kent Nagano to be inaugurated as principal conductor of Los Angeles Opera

By John Newman

Kent Nagano has accumulated a remarkable list of accomplishments in the world of music, his most recent being his appointment to the post of principal conductor for the Los Angeles Opera.

Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood will host a reception honoring Kent Nagano on September 15. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera
On Saturday, September 15, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood, the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, and the UCSC Alumni Association will host a reception to honor Nagano, one of its most distinguished alums (Porter College, '74), on the occasion of his inauguration.

Nagano is in demand as a conductor around the world. He is becoming music director of Berlin's Deutsche Symphonie this month, by which time he will have relinquished his position as music director of England's Hallé Orchestra after a tenure of nine years. Under Nagano's guidance for almost 10 years, the Opéra National de Lyon in France has risen to prominence and established an international reputation for innovative productions of exceptional quality.

In addition to his official posts, Nagano is active as a guest conductor with the foremost international orchestras and opera companies and is prolific in the studio as well. His numerous recordings include a Grammy winner and winners of prestigious awards from England, Germany, France, and Belgium. Nagano is one of the top conductors in the world and is often spoken of as the heir-apparent to Leonard Bernstein as American's preeminent conductor.

Nagano is known for taking risks, presenting new and unusual works, and always extracting quality performances. He is a champion of modern music and seems completely at home with even the most dense, and dissonant, modernist compositions, as well as lyrical classical pieces.

"I am tremedously excited about the collaboration with Kent Nagano," said Placido Domingo, artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera. "I'm also very grateful to him that he was able to organize his tremendously busy schedule in Europe in such a way that he can be in Los Angeles for a good part of the season. Kent is one of the most important figures in today's music world, and Los Angeles is fortunate to be the beneficiary of his artistry."

Nagano is no stranger to the Los Angeles Opera. He guest-conducted two operas early in its existence: John Adams's Nixon in China and Kurt Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, both to widespread critical acclaim. He is a native Californian who grew up in Morro Bay and received his undergraduate education at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was at UC Santa Cruz that his interest in music developed into a lifetime vocation. Nagano credits UC Santa Cruz's unique academic environment for allowing him to develop at his own rate--supersonic. In the 27 years since he graduated he has shown no sign of slackening the pace.

The chancellor's reception at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will follow a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin, the first work Nagano will conduct in his new post as principal conductor. In addition to Lohengrin, the 2001-02 season will include Turandot and Duke Bluebeard's Castle/Gianni Schicchi, and the Deutches Symphonie-Orchester in the Los Angeles premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's opera Moses und Aron.

To see the full schedule for the Los Angeles Opera, or buy tickets to any of its productions, visit the web site.

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