American Academy of conducting a Aspen participant choosen to lead the Cleveland Orchestra next summer |

American Academy of conducting a Aspen participant choosen to lead the Cleveland Orchestra next summer

Aspen Music Festival and School

Aspen, CO–Damon Gupton, a participant in the 2002 American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, has been chosen to lead the legendary Cleveland Orchestra next summer at the Blossom Music Center, summer home of the orchestra. Mr. Gupton will conduct Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite during the August 22 concert.

Through a collaboration between the Aspen Music Festival and School and The Cleveland Orchestra that began in 2001, one or two outstanding participants in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen will be invited by Blossom Festival Director Jahja Ling and Aspen Music Director David Zinman to conduct a future performance with The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, sharing the podium with Mr. Zinman.

“To provide an aspiring conductor the opportunity to conduct an orchestra the caliber of The Cleveland Orchestra is exactly the type of professional development that we envisioned when we created the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen,” said Mr. Zinman. “We are grateful to The Cleveland Orchestra for participating in this partnership and I look forward to sharing the podium with Damon for this concert.”

Mr. Gupton was an Academy Conductor for the 2002 summer season. He was awarded the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize at Aspen last August resulting in an automatic invitation to return to Aspen in 2003.A native of Detroit, Mr. Gupton studied trombone with H. Dennis Smith at the University of Michigan School of Music, and in 1994 received his degree in music education. At Michigan, he played in university ensembles and served as conductor for several student and community musicals. He also was featured as guest conductor with the Ann Arbor Huron High School Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Gupton is an accomplished actor and graduated in 1999 from the

Juilliard School with a degree in dramatic performance. His credits include the NBC television shows Law and Order, Third Watch, and Deadline, as well as feature films The Loretta Claiborne Story and Unfaithful. He also has performed as narrator with several ensembles, including the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

“I am very grateful to the Academy for providing such a wonderful and

generous opportunity for me to grow,” remarks Mr. Gupton. “This has been a pivotal part of my development.I am growing, listening, and learning on a whole new level.”

To date, three other participants of the AACA have made their debuts with The Cleveland Orchestra Josep Caballe-Domenech, James Gaffigan, and Daniel Meyer.

As the first musician selected to take part in the 2002 Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative, Mr. Caballe-Domenech is currently working with Sir Colin Davis and conducts frequently in Europe. Mr. Gaffigan was one of eight conductors chosen from a field of 200, to participate in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Synergy” program for conductors and composers last September. He is in his final year of graduate school at the Sheppard School of Music at Rice University. Mr. Meyer began his appointment as assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony in the fall of 2002, after leaving a post with the Knoxville Symphony.

Directed by Mr. Zinman, the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen enters its fourth year in the coming summer. The Academy is dedicated to the professional development of young conductors and is designed to provide participants with intensive conducting training with a skilled orchestra, to identify young conductors and to assist them in gaining experience and opportunities, and to support each individual’s professional growth as a conductor.


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