The Colburn Orchestra
The Colburn Orchestra in a performance from 2021 | Credit: Luis Luque

Los Angeles audiences should add another top orchestra to their schedules. The symphonic season at the Colburn School is on an entirely different level compared to most student ensembles. The Colburn Orchestra will host a handful of star conductors and play some of Southern California’s biggest stages in 2022 and 2023.

You could easily mistake the year’s final concert for an LA Phil performance. At Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 23, 2023, Stéphane Denève leads the conservatory players in a thorny program featuring Richard Strauss’s Don Juan, Maurice Ravel’s La valse, and Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto. Alena Hove is the soloist for that last piece — just one of eight Colburn students or recent graduates taking a solo turn with the orchestra this season.

Ruth Reinhardt
Ruth Reinhardt leads the first Colburn Orchestra concert of the season, Oct. 1 | Credit: Jessica Schäfer

The year starts in equally ambitious fashion, with Ruth Reinhardt conducting the ensemble in Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and more on Oct. 1. It’s the opening in a trio of performances at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. Two fixed presences at Colburn — Yehuda Gilad, who heads the orchestra program, and James Conlon, a regular guest — direct the other concerts there, Nov. 19 and Feb. 25, 2023, respectively.

The students take to a different venue for each remaining performance, though the conductors stay close to home with their repertoire. At The Wallis on Oct. 29, British music director Courtney Lewis leads a concert centered around Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Simone Menezes brings a Brazilian masterwork, Camargo Guarnieri’s Abertura Concertante, to the Cerritos Performing Arts Center on Jan. 28, 2023. And Lionel Bringuier bookends his program at Soka Performing Arts Center on March 26, 2023, with two French pieces — Lili Boulanger’s D’un soir triste and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

You can catch more star performers and student contributions throughout the season courtesy of the Colburn Chamber Music Society. The six-concert series in Zipper Hall begins Sept. 18 with a recital by new faculty member and LA Phil principal trombone David Rejano and ends April 2, 2023, with a collaborative program from pianist Jon Kimura Parker. And that’s not counting the many excellent undergraduate and graduate performances that will end up on the calendar once the school year gets going.

Find tickets and more information for the 2022–2023 season on the Colburn School’s website.