Strauss' 'Alpine Symphony' at The Lobero Set for 6/21

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Trombonist Jay Friedman will conduct his unique brass arrangement of Richard Strauss' landmark tone poem An Alpine Symphony to open the Music Academy of the West's first orchestra concert of the 2014 Summer School and Festival in Santa Barbara's newly renovated Lobero Theatre at 8 pm on Saturday, June 21. The program also will include Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 under the baton of acclaimed conductor Larry Rachleff, who has led the Academy Festival Orchestra in triumphant season-opening performances each of the past six years. Tickets cost $45.

Described by the Chicago Tribune as a "take-charge maestro who invests everything he conducts with deep musical understanding," Mr. 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. Mr. 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. In 1993 he was among four American conductors selected to lead the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the mentorship of Maestro Pierre Boulez.

A former faculty member at Oberlin Conservatory, where he was music director of orchestras and conductor of the Contemporary Ensemble, Mr. Rachleff also has served as conductor for USC Thornton Opera. In 1988 he led the highly acclaimed American-Soviet Youth Orchestra tour, and he has conducted and presented masterclasses at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, the Zurich Hochschule, and the Sydney and Queensland (Australia) conservatories. In constant demand as a conductor and masterclass clinician, Mr. Rachleff is frequently invited to lead other conservatory orchestras, including those at Juilliard, England's Royal Northern College, and New England Conservatory. He has collaborated with such leading composers as Samuel Adler, the late Luciano Berio, George Crumb, and John Harbison.

Mr. 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."