Steven Schick, Music Director
2007 - Present
"I think the role of an arts organization in a community is to both reflect and lead. In the San Diego music community, there is a real niche for La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, a place for our point of view. For one, the idea of contemporary music and the linkage between it and traditional orchestral music is not widely addressed outside of this organization. The connections between contemporary and classical, and the fact that we perform in the community we live in and are willing to take a stand to guide rather than follow, that's our niche."
Percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. For forty years he has championed contemporary music by commissioning or premiering more than 150 new works. He was the founding percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (1992-2002) and served as Artistic Director of the Centre International de Percussion de Genève (2000-2005). Schick is founder and Artistic Director of the percussion group, “red fish blue fish.” Currently he is Music Director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He will also serve as music director of the 2015 Ojai Music Festival in June. In 2012 he became the first Artist-in-Residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
Schick founded and is currently Artistic Director of “Roots and Rhizomes,” a summer course on contemporary percussion music held at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He maintains a lively schedule of guest conducting including appearances in this season with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Nova Chamber Ensemble and the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble. Among his acclaimed publications are a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and numerous recordings of contemporary percussion music including a 3 CD set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis (Mode). Mode released a companion recording on DVD of the early percussion music of Karlheinz Stockhausen in September of 2014.
In 2014, Schick received two notable honors: he was named Champion of New Music by the American Composers Forum and he was inducted into the Percussion Hall of Fame. Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. In June 2015 he served as the Music Director of the 69th annual Ojai Music Festival in Ojai, California.
David Chase, Choral Director
1973 - Present
"Now in my fifth decade of working with the La Jolla Symphony Chorus, I have stronger feelings than ever about its future as a cultural symbol as well as a vehicle for great music. If, in the future, music is to remain the province of the community and of the individuals in the community, rather than a product that is packaged and sold to consumers, community choruses like the La Jolla Symphony Chorus will be an important force. For that force to be strong and positive, we must not only maintain the strengths of the choral tradition - its egalitarian access to art music, its communal bonding, its direct relationship to both traditions and trends in literary arts - but we must also develop new repertoire and a new audience. The LJSC as an exemplary vehicle for these developments."
David Chase is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he sang in a performance of Stravinksy's Symphony of Psalms conducted by the composer. Chase received his D.M.A. from the University of Michigan and served as conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphonic Choir while living in Ann Arbor. From 1973-2013, he was a member of the music faculty of Palomar College in San Marcos, where he taught music theory and history and conducted. Chase has performed as a member of the Robert Shaw Festival Chamber Chorus in Souillac, France, and at Carnegie Hall, and has been a fellow of the Melodious Accord Fellowship with Alice Parker in New York City.
Chase's tenure with the LJSC has taken the chorus far outside the established choral repertory, presenting music that ranges from Broadway tunes to music of early American composers to programs of Latina American choral works. In 2000, under the auspices of America Cantat (Alberto Grau and Maria Guinand), he conducted choral workshops in Puerto Ordaz and Merida, Venezuela. Perhaps Chase's most dramatic achievement has been the series of tours that have given the LJSC an international reputation. He has led members of the chorus on tours to France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Britich Columbia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico, and - most striking of all - to the Kingdom of Bhutan, where the LJSC became the first Western ensemble ever to perform in that remote Himalayan nation.