Larry Livingston departing after more than 30 years

On Sunday August 4, 2019, Idyllwild Arts Foundation ( will present the culmination performance of the High School Summer Chamber Festival Orchestra and Festival Choir of Idyllwild Arts. The program will feature more than 100 talented young people performing on the world-class stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

This will be the last Idyllwild Arts Foundation Summer Culmination Concert conducted by Larry Livingston, the world-renowned conductor and educator who has been the Idyllwild Arts music director of summer festival orchestras for more than 30 years. The evening’s performance will be dedicated to him. The nearly two-hour performance will take place at 3pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall with a VIP brunch at 1 PM in the Founders Room.

“This summer, we will glimpse the future of classical music on the grand stage.” said Pamela Jordan, President of Idyllwild Arts. “The evening will also be a beautiful tribute to Larry Livingston, who has invested so much time and energy into making the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program one of the finest in the world.”

Livingston guided the relaunching of the Summer Festival Orchestras three decades ago, after Idyllwild Arts gained its independence from USC. He helped build the summer orchestral program from a small ensemble of local high school students and faculty in 1988, to one of the finest youth orchestras in the United States, with an international reputation that now attracts students from around the world. In those years, he also built a world-class faculty from across the U.S. and Europe, recruited thousands of students to the program, designed the Chamberfest program — unique among American youth music camps for its focus both on orchestral playing and chamber music — and established the tradition of playing the final Summer Culmination Concerts at world-class venues, including Walt Disney Concert Hall and UCLA’s Royce Hall.

During Livingston’s tenure with Idyllwild Arts, he consistently received glowing reviews and dramatically enhanced the artistic reputation of Idyllwild Arts around the globe.
“I wish to express my sincere appreciation to former President, William Lowman, the man who actually created the Idyllwild Arts Academy, and Steven Fraider, Director of the Summer Program, (1986-2015), who entrusted me with their confidence” said Larry Livingston. “We worked tirelessly for three decades to build and elevate the summer festival orchestras to the present day. Without their steadfast courage and enduring commitment, none of that could have happened. I also want to thank my devoted faculty colleagues, their artistry and teaching, which was core to our success.  Last, I extend my profound gratitude to the thousands of students who graced my life over the past thirty years. Their collective dedication, talent, and passion is a lifelong blessing.”

While Livingston’s departure certainly marks the end of a tremendous era for Idyllwild Arts, it also signals the beginning of an exciting new era, in which the Summer Program and Academy will become more closely integrated. In the fall, Idyllwild Arts Foundation will welcome famed maestro Ransom Wilson as Director of Orchestral Programs, and Gregory Robbins as Associate Conductor, to conduct the year-round orchestral programs and to build on the prestige and prominence that Livingston helped create.

Wilson is a world-renowned flutist, recording artist, chamber musician and conductor who is currently music director and conductor of The Redlands Symphony and has an ongoing professorship at Yale University School of Music. Wilson’s new position with Idyllwild Arts is something of a homecoming; he conducted part-time at the school some 10 years ago.

This new year-round orchestral programs will further uplift talented student musicians and give students participating in the Summer Program “a taste” of life at the regular Academy.


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