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A Discussion with Leif Bjaland – Conductor of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra

“A Discussion with Leif Bjaland”
Leif Bjaland, the conductor for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra talks about his life and career as a conductor, and reflects on his 25 years as Music Director and Conductor of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.

Online with Zoom
Leif Bjaland is one of the most dynamic and exciting American conductors now before the public. As Artistic Advisor to The Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra for the last three seasons, he conducted concerts, led the orchestra on its first statewide tour and administered the recently completed search for a new music director. He served as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Sarasota Orchestra from 1997 to 2012, during which time the orchestra experienced unprecedented artistic growth. Mr. Bjaland is also currently the Music Director of the Waterbury Symphony in Connecticut where he has received enormous enthusiasm and critical praise for his performances and imaginative programming.

Mr. Bjaland is an active guest conductor appearing with the Louisville Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and will lead performances with Cynthia Gregory and Nevada Ballet Theatre, and the Louisville Ballet. He will also conduct performances with the Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Seattle Opera House (McCaw Hall) as well as performances with the Auburn Symphony. Recently he as served as conductor for Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center and on two international tours featuring all Balanchine programs. He has also acted as a guest conductor for New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Sarasota Ballet and Miami City Ballet. He conducted the Florida Grand Opera in three productions including a highly acclaimed Don Giovanni a triple bill of one‐act operas by Manuel de Falla ‐ El Amor Brujo, Master Peter’s Puppet Show and La Vida Breve; and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Bjaland received great attention and critical acclaim when he gave the world premiere performance of 19th century American composer George Chadwick’s opera, The Padrone.

Mr. Bjaland has created a new multi media presentation, written and narrated by Bjaland called “Journeys to Genius” which explore the creative road taken in writing a masterpiece work. These enthusiastically received performances include a first half of actors, projected images, and narration leading towards a performance of the full work on the second half of the concert. Works featured so far have been the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Mozart Jupiter Symphony, Beethoven Eroica Symphony, and Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symphony.

A popular and active guest conductor, Mr. Bjaland made his debut at the Ravinia Festival conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program entitled “Bernstein on Broadway” also involving soloists, chorus and dancers. He recently appeared with The Chicago Philharmonic, the Gulf Coast Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the California Symphony. He has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Fort Worth, Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Utah, Madison, Akron, Fort Wayne, Fresno, Des Moines, Mobile, San Jose, Rhode Island, Virginia, Harrisburg, Colorado, Long Beach, New World Symphony. Mr. Bjaland led the Cincinnati Symphony at an opening concert of a Riverbend summer season, and conducted at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, the World Youth Symphony at Interlochen, and the Young Artists Orchestra at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute culminating in a performance in Ozawa Hall.

Mr. Bjaland is also an enthusiastic proponent of music education having taught for several summers in Venezuela as part of that country’s “el Sistema” program. He received his Masters degree in conducting from The University of Michigan where he studied with Gustav Meier. He is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Music degree, awarded by Susquehanna University and makes his home in San Francisco.

This program is complementary to those who would like to attend. Attendees must register in order to receive the Zoom Link.

The link will be sent to attendees on Thursday, July 9th by 12 noon.

Music For Great Spaces

Twin concerts celebrating the Taft School’s showcase choir, Collegium Musicum, Friday at Taft, Sunday at St. John the Divine, New York, NY. Bruce Fifer, Director.

Music For Great Spaces

Twin concerts celebrating the Taft School’s showcase choir, Collegium Musicum, Friday at Taft, Sunday at St. John the Divine, New York, NY. Bruce Fifer, Director.

The Carnival of Animals

Fun for classical music listeners of all ages!  The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra presents Saint-Saën’s Le carnival des animaux.

Alexis Cole Duo

Award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to ever hold a top-secret military clearance. A dozen albums into her critically acclaimed career, she may also be the best-kept secret in jazz, a status that’s certain to change as more people are discovering her for themselves. The year 2009 was a big one for Alexis: She released her first albums on both Motéma Music and Venus Records…and went to Basic Training to prepare for her new job as a jazz singer for the US Army.

During her seven years in the Army’s Big Band, Cole had the opportunity to grow as a musician and a person, sharing the stage with ensembles as diverse as the New York Philharmonic and Kool and the Gang. Alexis continued recording throughout her tour of duty, releasing a string of well-received albums, including four titles for Venus, two for Motema, and two on Chesky Records. She proved her versatility on everything from jazz standards to Paul Simon’s lesser known compositions, to Disney love songs to a project on which she teamed up with a fellow serviceman 50 years her senior, the legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.

Alexis has blossomed since leaving the service in 2016, trading her uniforms and fatigues for sleek cocktail dresses and chic hats, and focusing fully on her art. The singer’s career has taken on exciting new momentum, with recent accomplishments including gigs at celebrated venues like The Carlyle, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note; and performances as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Boston Pops and the Detroit Symphony.