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Lesley Leighton Appointed Associate Conductor of LA Master Chorale and Three Other Staff Appointments Announced

Location: California, USA
Choir type: Professional Choirs
Lesley Leighton, an established choral conductor and long-time singer with the Los Angeles Master Chorale who was appointed assistant conductor of the chorus a year ago, has been promoted to the newly-created postof Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) it was announced by LAMC Chair Mark Foster.  Her three-year term begins July 2011 and continues through the 2013-14 Season.

In this capacity Leighton will continue to work closely with the Chorale’s Music Director, Grant Gershon, to provide increased input on artistic programming and educational outreach projects, provide assistance at rehearsals and support Gershon’s leadership.  In addition, during the 2011-12 Season, she will ascend the podium twice: on opening night, October 16, 2011, she will conduct Tarik O’Regan’s Tal vez tenemos tiempo, and on the season’s penultimate concert, “Andes to the Sea,” on April 29, 2012, she will also be featured.  Leighton will conduct the Chorale in subsequent seasons as well.

“Lesley has been an invaluable asset to the Los Angeles Master Chorale,” says Foster.  “By promoting her to Associate Conductor, we are acknowledging her significant artistic role in our organization.”

“Lesley is a tremendous musical talent with keen sensibilities and wonderful conducting skills,” states Gershon.  “It has been a pleasure to work with her over the past year.  A consummate musician with a deep knowledge of and passion for choral music, Lesley has been an amazing resource for both the Chorale and me.  Her promotion is well deserved, and I look forward to continuing to build upon our successful artistic partnership.”

Leighton, a native Angeleno who attended Westchester High School, was appointed Assistant Conductor in July 2010 and will begin serving as Associate Conductor in July 2011.  She sang with the LAMC from 1991 to 1997, before moving to New York City to continue her professional freelance music career and to serve as Director of Development for the Office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  She rejoined the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2007.  Since 2008, Leighton has served as Artistic Director of the 100-voice Los Robles Master Chorale and its Consort Singers for which she also established, in 2010, its annual High School and College Choir Festival.  In addition, she directs the newly established New West Symphony Chorus, which debuted in May 2011.  Among other professional highlights, in June 2011, she prepped a choir for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Japan Relief concert held at Disney Hall and has performed with some of the world's most eminent conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Loren Maazel, Simon Rattle, andEsa-Pekka Salonen.  Her opera credits include principal appearances with New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Köln Opera, and Glyndebourne.

Leighton studied with LAMC Music DirectorEmeritus Paul Salamunovich at Loyola Marymount University, where she earned her BA in choral conducting.  She obtained a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Southern California, where she is currently working on a Doctor of Musical Artsin choral music with her mentor and nationally recognized choral conductor, Jo-Michael Scheibe.  The recipient of a two-year teaching assistantshipfrom the Thornton School of Music at USC, Leighton was also honored in 2009 through the university's “Remarkable Women Awards” program in recognition of her "outstanding accomplishments and endless dedication" in the area of choral music.
Andrew Brown,who joined the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2001 as both a singer and staff member, has been promoted to Director of Operations.  He will oversee production, marketing and communications, education and strategic planning for the chorus.  In May, after a decade of performing with the Chorale, the accomplished tenor stepped down as a singer with the choir in order to concentrate on his new management position.

Patrick Brown(no relation to Andy Brown), who joined the Chorale’s staff in 2003, has been promoted to Marketing Manager for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  Previously the Patron Services Manager, he will now manage the choir’s marketing and advertising initiatives.

New to the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s professional staff is Lesili Beard, who was named Education Programs Manager.  An alto, she has sung with the Chorale since 2007, a role she will continue, and was a member of the Chorale’s Chamber Singers from 2009 to May 2011.  She is passionately committed to changing the lives of young people through music and the arts, and will oversee all of the Chorale’s education and outreach programs, including its award-winning “Voices Within” in-school residency program and the acclaimed annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival, now in its 23rd year and one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation with nearly 1,000 students from two dozen schools participating.                                     
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