LIVERMORE, CALIF., May 14, 2013, ed. August 14, 2013—The Livermore–Amador Symphony Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Lara Webber as music director to follow the retirement of Dr. Arthur Barnes at the end of the 2013–2014 season. She will begin conducting LAS concerts in the fall of 2014.
Ms. Webber has resided in Livermore for several years and was guest conductor of the symphony’s May 2012 concert. Together with her family, she now considers Livermore to be her home town, where she is strongly committed to local music programs. Ms. Webber comes to the Livermore-Amador Symphony having established herself early in her career as a conductor with great artistic depth and versatility. She has achieved national recognition as one of the most talented and versatile conductors of her generation. Ms. Webber has served as guest conductor with numerous major American orchestras, performing a broad range of repertoire. She most recently held the positions of assistant, then associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and in that role, she programmed and conducted over eighty concerts annually. Prior to her appointment with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she was associate conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She was also Director and Conductor of the Los Angeles Debut Orchestra, for which she was honored by the city of Los Angeles. Notably, she was conductor of the Emmy-nominated Disney’s Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, whose concerts were broadcast nationally on the Disney Channel. Lara remains committed to arts education, with vast experience programming and performing children and family concerts, as well as bringing music to Livermore elementary school children.
Ms. Webber’s appointment followed consideration and evaluation by the Livermore-Amador Symphony search committee. Her considerable talent, experience and personal rapport with the orchestra are of the highest caliber. Her commitment to the musical and cultural life of our community set her apart from the field of the highly talented artists considered.
Dr. Arthur P. Barnes will retire from his position as full-time music director of the Livermore-Amador Symphony at the conclusion of his fiftieth season with the orchestra. He took over the podium in the fall of 1964, just a year after the Symphony was formed. His eclectic background and skills are largely responsible for building the Symphony from an adult school night class to the major community orchestra it is today. The Symphony Association honors Dr. Barnes’ tenure and achievements with the post of Music Director Emeritus, and has created an annual award to be given in his name.
LIVERMORE, CALIF., July 3, 2012—Dr. Arthur P. Barnes has announced that he will retire from his position as full-time music director of the Livermore-Amador Symphony at the conclusion of his fiftieth season with the orchestra (2013–2014). He took over the podium in the fall of 1964, just a year after the Symphony was formed. His fifty-year affiliation is probably a record-setting tenure for a community orchestra conductor.
The LAS Board of Directors has responded by honoring Dr. Barnes with the post of Music Director Emeritus, and announcing an annual award to be given in his name. The Symphony will immediately begin the process of finding a successor.
Dr. Barnes joined the Livermore-Amador Symphony in its second season. His eclectic background and skills are largely responsible for building the Symphony from a high school night class [part of what is now known as Livermore Adult Community Education] to the major community orchestra it is today.
During his first year as conductor in Livermore, Art Barnes completed his doctorate in orchestral conducting at Stanford University, and was offered a full-time appointment in the university’s music department. During the next thirty-five years, he served as director of bands; conductor of the chamber orchestra and of the wind ensemble; and professor of theory, orchestration, ear training, and score reading. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Wichita State University and a master's in theory and composition.
His early career included serving as supervisor of music in an Ohio public school district and on the music faculties of Southern Illinois University and Fresno State. He is an accomplished jazz and classical pianist, and has worked professionally as a trombone player and bassoonist in the Wichita Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Fresno Symphony. His primary conducting mentor was Richard Lert, with whom he worked for four summers as a conducting fellow under the auspices of the American Symphony Orchestra League (now the League of American Orchestras). He also spent a summer workshop studying with conductor Eric Leinsdorf. Composer Roy Harris was his primary composition teacher as well as a close personal friend.
His arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner” received national acclaim. It was played at the 1963 Big Game between the Stanford and UC Berkeley football teams, just eight days after the Kennedy assassination. “I’ve never heard such a loud silence,” Barnes says. “All the sportswriters said they had lumps in their throats. It was the defining moment of my early years.”
In the U.K., Barnes has, on three occasions, been a visiting scholar of the music department of the University of York, most recently in May 2012. In addition to his orchestral involvement, he has worked at York extensively as a brass band composer and conductor. Some of his compositions are being published, in Britain, by June Emerson Wind Music. Barnes has also appeared as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in Australia, Japan, England, the Philippines, and the U.S.
During the many years of his involvement with the Livermore-Amador Symphony, his entire family has performed as members of the orchestra or as soloists: his wife and son on French horn, one daughter on violin, another on bassoon, and a granddaughter on cello.
Symphony lore for years included a myth that Barnes’ doctoral thesis was based on his work with LAS. The Symphony did have a role, of lesser import, in some of the classes he taught at Stanford, though: Recordings of LAS mistakes were occasionally used as examples for ear-training students to listen for “What was wrong with that?”!
In the next two years, the Symphony will first celebrate its fiftieth season (2012–2013) and then Dr. Barnes’ jubilee season (2013–2014). LAS, a community orchestra, is dedicated to bringing world-class music to the community and community musicians to the music.
We invite the Tri-Valley community to come celebrate these accomplishments with the orchestra at the beautiful Bankhead Theater in Livermore. Please check the 2012–2013 season details.