Center for the Arts
6125 Montrose Rd
Click HERE for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Webpage
The Gildenhorn/Speisman Center for the Arts at the
Greater Washington presents
The JCC Symphony Orchestra
Joel Lazar, Music Director
Music Director of the JCCSO since 1988, Joel Lazar is widely acclaimed as a conductor of symphonic repertoire, contemporary music, and musical theater. He has led the Theater Chamber Players since 1986, and is a frequent guest conductor of many chamber groups, orchestras, and contemporary music ensembles in the greater Washington area.
Arnold Saltzman’s Second Symphony « … received the kind of carefully rehearsed, poised and incisive presentation one wishes every premiere might enjoy. Under the direction of Joel Lazar, the orchestra spoke clearly and powerfully, sonorities were well balanced and individual lines were delivered with grace … an impressive performance and a tribute both to Lazar’s conducting skill and to his musical imagination. »
[Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post,
Principal Conductor of « Opera in the Chapel » (a resident professional company at George Washington University’s Mount Vernon campus) since 1991, he has served as a cover conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) since 1997, and, since 1960, has presented regional American premieres of major works by Joel.Colorsuch composers as Mahler, Nielsen, Piston, Maw, Honegger, Holst, Harbison, Schuller, Woollen, Saxton, Moss, LeBaron, Mumford, McKay and Davidowsky. His 1999-2000 season included the premieres
and Repertoire 1988-2001
of major works by Robert Parris, Francis Thompson McKay, and Arnold Saltzman, the first American performance of Michal Vích’s Opera La Serra, a Kennedy Center engagement with the Theater Chamber Players, Lukas Foss’s Time Cycle at the Holocaust Museum, anniversary presentations of Schoenberg’s Suite, Op. 29, Pierrot Lunaire, and Ode to Napoleon, as well as a concert with the Woodley Ensemble featuring Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. During this season he returns to the Kennedy Center with the Theater Chamber Players, and is a guest conductor for Contemporary Music Forum.
Born in New York, Joel Lazar received undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Harvard University, where he studied with Pierre Boulez, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson. At Aspen and Tanglewood he worked with Izler Solomon, Richard Burgin and Erich Leinsdorf, and at the Shenandoah Festival with Richard Lert. In 1969 he was elected to honorary membership in the Bruckner Society of America through which he met the legendary Jascha
« Joel Lazar is a first-rate conductor and really one of the most erudite musicians on the scene. [He] has a pedigree of teachers and mentors that goes back a long way … Joel is a joy to work with. »
Leon Fleisher, Concert Pianist and Conductor
[From an interview with Suzanne Richardson, published in The Montgomery Gazette, 3/3/2000]
Horenstein, master interpreter of Mahler and Bruckner. In 1971 he received a fellowship enabling him to spend two years overseas as Horenstein’s personal assistant, the only young conductor ever to serve in this capacity. After Horenstein’s death, he acted as his mentor’s artistic executor, inheriting Horenstein’s extensive music library and completing his recording of Carl Nielsen’s opera, Saul and David, with an international cast including Boris Christoff. Joel Lazar has published an appreciative assessment of Jascha Horenstein´s legacy as part of the « Reputations » series in the November 2000 issue of the internationally acclaimed British recording review, Gramophone. His notes for the BBC Legends release of Horenstein´s performance of Mahler´s Das Lied von der Erde were hailed by Fanfare critic, Henry Fogel, as « models of what one would hope to find in this kind of historic release, with unique insights into Horenstein´s career in general and this performance specifically. »
Music Director of the Tulsa Philharmonic from 1980 to 1983, Joel Lazar has also appeared in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, San Antonio, Louisville, Pasadena, Oklahoma City, Harrisburg, Wheeling and Johnstown, with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston, and was Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic from 1990 to 1992. During a period of European residence he conducted the BBC Philharmonic, the Danish National Orchestra, the Tivoli Orchestra and the Scottish Baroque Ensemble in concerts, broadcasts and recordings.
« Informed and informative booklet-notes are now sufficiently rare as to merit special mention, and they don´t come much better than [Joel] Lazar´s essay on the performance history of the Seventh. » David Gutman
[From a review in Gramophone (12/2000) of Jascha Horenstein´s recording of Mahler´s Symphony
Joel Lazar has enjoyed successful collaborations with many of the leading artists of our time, among them pianists Leon Fleisher, André Watts, Lorin Hollander, Garrick Ohlsson,
Following a performance of the Dvorák Cello Concerto, Leonard Rose wrote:
« When Joel Lazar began this great work, with its long introduction I couldn’t believe my ears. Mr. Lazar had transformed this group into a superb orchestra. As the rehearsal continued, it became more and more obvious that here was a real conductor. I recall the performance with very great pleasure … First-rate conductors are hard to find. Joel Lazar is first-rate. »
020_20Gary Graffman, Malcolm Frager, and Charles Rosen; violinists Shlomo Mintz, Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, Elisabeth Adkins, and Elmar Oliveira; violists Donald McInnes and Nokuthula Ngwenyama; cellists Leonard Rose, Evelyn Elsing and Stephen Kates; hornists Barry Tuckwell and Robert Routch; bassoonists David McGill and Lynn Gaubatz, oboists Ray Still, Rudolph Vrbsky and Sara Watkins Shirley-Quirk; singers Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Roberta Peters, Christophoren Nomura, Jeannette Walters, Maureen Forrester, Irene Gubrud, Ben Holt, Marvis Martin and Charles Williams; as well as members of the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Washington Opera. In April 2001 he appeared as second conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra in a critically acclaimed performance of Charles Ives’s Fourth Symphony. In August 2002 Mr. Lazar conducted among other works Bruckner’s Third Symphony with the Collegium Musicum at Schloß Pommersfelden, Germany.
« Another reason for acquiring this issue [of Mahler´s Symphony No. 7] is the excellent booklet note by Joel Lazar, who was Horenstein’s faithful and indefatigable assistant during the last three years of the conductor’s life. Lazar deftly analyses Horenstein’s art and the distinct strengths that he brought to Mahler’s music in general and to this symphony in particular. » David Patmore [in International Record Review, Vol. I, No. 9, p. 47]