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.
Ruben Valenzuela, Choral Director
La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ruben Valenzuela as its next Choral Director after a recently concluded nationwide search. Valenzuela is artistic director and conductor of Bach Collegium San Diego, a music performance ensemble he founded in 2003. He also maintains an active career as a guest conductor, keyboardist and musicologist.
“Ruben Valenzuela is a consummate musician with great collaborative energy, deep roots in the community, and a superb artist’s keen insight to all aspects of music-making,” says LJS&C Music Director Steven Schick. “We are thrilled he’ll be joining us as Choral Director.”
Valenzuela has led Bach Collegium in local premieres of historically informed performances of music of the Renaissance, early and high Baroque, and Classical periods. Under his leadership, the choral and instrumental ensemble has achieved local, national and international acclaim. He frequently appears as a guest director and performer with ensembles such as Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City, the Bach Experience at Marsh Chapel at Boston University, and Emmanuel Music in Boston. He also serves as Director of Music and organist at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in San Diego. Valenzuela holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University.
“I’m thrilled to work alongside Maestro Steven Schick and the entire La Jolla Symphony and Chorus community in shaping the future of this organization,” says Valenzuela. “Additionally, I’m looking forward to diving into the unique programming tradition of La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and keeping excellence at the forefront as we forge ahead!”
Valenzuela will begin his tenure with LJS&C on July 1, 2019. As Choral Director, he will be responsible for preparing the chorus for the organization’s subscription series, leading concerts of choral music at community venues, and sharing conducting duties with Schick.