Assistant Professor of Practice
Division: Classical Performance and Composition
Sharon Lavery’s extensive career has led her to conduct in preeminent concert halls across the United States, including Carnegie Hall on several occasions. Currently, she serves as resident conductor of the Thornton Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She has led the USC Thornton ensembles in concert on many occasions and, for seven years, served as music director of the Thornton Concert Orchestra. In addition to these duties at USC Thornton, Lavery teaches instrumental conducting classes.
Outside of USC, Lavery enjoys a distinguished career both locally and internationally. Since December of 2007 she has been music director of the Downey Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble hailed as one of the best metropolitan orchestras in Southern California. This position has brought Lavery great acclaim for her innovative programming. During her tenure as music director, she has premiered or commissioned a new composition each season.
Maestra Lavery has attained prominence as a conductor throughout California. Since 2004 she has held the post of cover conductor for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and she has served as cover conductor for the San Diego Symphony as well. Lavery has led the La Jolla Symphony in concert, served as assistant conductor to the Pasadena Symphony, and for many years was associate conductor of the Herbert Zipper Orchestra of Los Angeles. In 2011 she conducted the La Brea Sinfonietta in a CD recording of “The Dream Gallery” by composer Mark Abel. The CD was released by Delos Productions, Inc. in March of 2012, reaching No. 2 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” list.
Previously, Lavery served as music director of the MUSE International Music Day Festival in Chiba, Japan. Performances of works she has conducted (both orchestra and wind ensemble) are frequently aired on the largest non-profit classical music station in the country, Classical KUSC (91.5).
Lavery is also nationally known as an advocate for music education. In 2012 she conducted the Texas 4A All-State Band, and in 2013 and 2014 was invited back to Carnegie Hall, this time to conduct the Honors Performance Series Band – an ensemble consisting of some of the most elite high school musicians in the country.
Hailing from Ossining, New York, Lavery received her bachelor of music education degree from Michigan State University and master of music in clarinet performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. She also earned a master of music in orchestral conducting from USC Thornton, receiving the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Scholarship for two consecutive years.
Current Professional Affiliation(s):
Music Director, Downey Symphony Orchestra
- MM, New England Conservatory of Music, 1993; MM, USC Thornton School of Music, 2000
- BM, Michigan State University