The Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn. will kick off its 2010-11 season with a fundraiser that will honor conductor-composer Loris Tjeknavorian, who agreed to be guest conductor for a mid-fall concert.
Tjeknavorian will attend the fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Lexus of Glendale. A catered reception with entertainment by the Glendale High School Advanced Music Program will precede a chamber ensemble concert performed by members of the orchestra. The program includes Bach, Mozart and works by Tjeknavorian.
The gala is a prelude to a full season of events and concerts, as well as a celebration of the orchestra's 86 years in the community, said Glenn Treibitz, president of the symphony association and Hollywood Piano Co. in Burbank.
"We are trying very hard to have a resurgence and it's coming," he said. "Sales are good for the Sept. 11 event."
The association is hoping to build audience numbers with the addition of Tjeknavorian as guest conductor. He has conducted the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra (New York) and for 11 years he was the music director of the Armenian Philharmonic in Armenia.
Since Glendale has such a large Armenian population, Tjeknavorian might attract more patrons from that community to the orchestra's concerts, Treibitz said.
"You don't have to have an Armenian conductor to run a symphony but to have a prominent musician at the helm of an institution who happens to be Armenian will help bring us the community support," he said.
The partnership between the orchestra and Tjeknavorian was serendipitous, Treibitz said.
"A friend of mine was going to Armenia and I asked him if he knew Loris," Trebitz said. "He was the top choice of three people we wanted to ask to be conductor. My friend called him and at that same time, Loris was looking at the Glendale Symphony on the Internet. So I believe there were other forces at work here."
The friend that went to Armenia to meet Tjeknavorian was Hamayag Hovanessian, a professional pianist who lives in Glendale.
"He will become active in concert life and will involve the Armenian community in classical music," Hovanessian said. "He's a nice candidate because he is very famous and popular."
Tjeknavorian was living in the United States prior to the Armenian earthquake and returned to Yerevan in 1988 to see what he could do to help. He's been in Yerevan ever since, Treibitz said.
"Right now, he's agreed to be here on Sept. 11 as guest of honor and will conduct one concert this fall — nothing beyond," he said.
His prominence around the world is a great benefit to the local orchestra, Treibitz said, and he is a great humanitarian. To keep people's spirits up, Tjeknavorian had free concerts every day for about three months after the earthquake in Armenia.
"He raised money in the United States to fund generators for the music hall so people could come to be warm," Treibitz said. "He kept the orchestra performing every day so people had a place to go."
Tjeknavorian has told Treibitz that in the future he would like to do programs that would reach out to different demographics, like the Latino and Jewish communities. He would even like to put together a combined program marking historic events like the Jewish Holocaust and Armenian Genocide, Treibitz said.
"He wants to use music to bring people together, no matter where," Treibitz said.
What: Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn.'s Chamber concert and gala reception
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lexus of Glendale, 1221 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale
Cost: $60 or $110 per couple
Contact: (818) 500-8720 or visit http://www.glendalesymphony.org