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Larry Rachleff to Conduct Academy Festival Orchestra Performance of Beethoven’s ‘Fifth’

Celebrated conductor Larry Rachleff will lead the Music Academy of the West's Festival Orchestra in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony as well as Richard Strauss’ rousing Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare and Prokofiev’s high-energy Symphony No. 5 at Santa Barbara’s historic Granada Theatre beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28. Tickets start at $15.

Larry Rachleff
Conductor Larry Rachleff

One of the most popular and well-known classical works of all time, Beethoven’s fate-themed Fifth Symphony retains the power to enthrall more than two centuries after the mercurial composer completed it. By turns urgent, dreamy and stirring — and thoroughly unforgettable throughout — it is quite simply the quintessential timeless masterpiece.

Described by the Chicago Tribune as a “take-charge maestro who invests everything he conducts with deep musical understanding,” Rachleff has served as music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic for 18 seasons. He also serves as music director of Rice University’s Shepherd School Orchestras in Houston, and recently stepped down as music director of the Chicago Philharmonic, a post he held for 23 years.

Rachleff has appeared as a guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Houston, Seattle, Indianapolis, Utah and Kansas City symphony orchestras, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

A former faculty member at Oberlin Conservatory, where he was music director of orchestras and conductor of the Contemporary Ensemble, Rachleff also has served as conductor for USC Thornton Opera.

In constant demand as a conductor and masterclass clinician, Rachleff is frequently invited to lead other conservatory orchestras, including those at Juilliard, England’s Royal Northern College and the New England Conservatory. He has collaborated with such leading composers as Samuel Adler, the late Luciano Berio, George Crumb and John Harbison.

Rachleff led the Academy Festival Orchestra in well-received concerts to open the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Summer Festivals. Writing in the Santa Barbara Independent, critic Charles Donelan observed that the conductor “moves so well on the podium that he can be easy for the audience to overlook, but that is clearly not the case on the musicians’ side of the proscenium, where smiles, warm glances, and the gentle thunder of pounding heels met his every effort.”

The Granada is located at 1216 State St. in Santa Barbara. The Music Academy’s 2014 Orchestra Series is generously supported by Robert Weinman.

The Music Academy of the West’s 67th annual Summer School and Festival began Monday. Over the course of this year’s eight-week season, the academy will present some 200 events, including a new production of Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen.

The coming festival will mark the first of a multiyear partnership with the New York Philharmonic that will bring Music Director Alan Gilbert and other Philharmonic musicians to the Music Academy for performances and teaching. Gilbert’s 2014 residency under the agreement will include conducting members of the Academy Festival Orchestra in Santa Barbara’s newly renovated Lobero Theatre on July 26.

Additional season highlights will include performances by pianists Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk and Stephen Hough; soprano Deborah Voigt; the contemporary chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird; violinist Daniel Hope; cellist Joshua Roman; and the Takács Quartet, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès, Jay Friedman, James Gaffigan, Edward Gardner and Joshua Weilerstein. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787. Information is also available online by clicking here.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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