USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra Concert Program
The USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra presents a star-studded evening featuring luminaries from the Thornton Strings department faculty including violinist Glenn Dictorow, violinist Bing Wang, violist Karen Dreyfus, cellist Ben Hong, and bassist David Moore.
The program includes Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings in E major Op. 22, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, and Bernstein’s Divertimento. Sharon Lavery, resident conductor of the USC Thornton orchestras, leads the ensemble in the second half of the program.
Ancient Airs and Dances: Suite No. 1
1. Simone Molinaro (1599): Balletto detto “Il Conte Orlando”
2. Vincenzo Galilei (155…): Gagliarda
3. Anon. (late 16th Century): Villanella
4. Anon. (late 16th Century): Passo mezzo e Mascherada
Ottorino Respighil (1875-1937)
Divertimento for Orchestra
1. Sennets and Tuckets
5. Turkey Trot
8. In Memoriam, March: “The BSO Forever”
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22
II. Tempo di valse
III. Scherzo: Vivace
V. Finale: Allegro vivace
Glenn Dicterow, guest concertmaster and leader
Bing Wang, guest principal violin II
Karen Dreyfus, guest principal viola
Ben Hong, guest principal cello
David Moore, guest principal bass
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
Ottorino Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1 (1917)
Ottorino Respighi is known as one of the leading Italian composers of the twentieth century, born in Bologna on July 9, 1879. He was a diverse composer, having works that cover a wide variety of styles from ballet, orchestral suites, and even chamber music. He was inspired by the Baroque and Classical eras, and utilized his skills as a trained musicologist to draw influence to add to his creations.
One such work that drew from the Renaissance Era was his Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1. Written in 1917, Respighi’s four movement work is based on seventeenth century lute music. To preserve the intimate quality of the music, he orchestrated the piece for chamber orchestra, rather than the massive orchestras more commonly used during the Romantic Era. Each movement is based off of a specific work of French and Italian origin, and features either a song or dance form. The first movement, Balletto detto “Il Conte Orlando”, is based off of a 1599 Italian lute piece by Simone Molinaro. It utilizes the entire orchestra to start, and includes a switch to major and minor to differentiate sections. The second movement, Gagliarda, draws from the 1550 composition by Vincenzo Galilei, who was the father of the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei! This piece is based off of a popular dance from the Renaissance/ early Baroque periods, and utilizes instrumentation to demonstrate this. By using small instrumental groups along with a bass drone, Respighi captures the folk elements of this dance. The third movement, Villanella, draws inspiration from an anonymously published Renaissance lute piece, and is characterized by its slow yet expressive melody, initially introduced by the oboe. Passo Mezzo e Mascherada makes up the final movement of the piece, combining both an anonymously written dance and song to conclude the piece. The Passo Mezzo emulates a lively Italian folk dance, using fast paces melodies to contrast the complimenting Mascherada, which is another sung Villanella usually performed during Carnival masquerades. The two sections intermix until the thrilling Passo Mezzo takes over to complete the work.
-Sara Petty (MM 2021, DMA 2025)
Leonard Bernstein: Divertimento for Orchestra (1980)
Leonard Bernstein wrote Divertimento for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1980. It was premiered in September of that same year as part of the celebration of the orchestra’s centennial. Bernstein was born in Lawrence Massachusetts, spent summers at Tanglewood Music Center, graduated from Harvard, and studied with Boston Symphony conductor Serge Koussevitzky. This piece is an expression of gratitude for the Boston Symphony.
Divertimento is based on two notes. The notes B and C, meant to stand for Boston Centennial, can be heard as a short motif in every movement of the piece. This motif is not always obviously heard, but it consistently occurs throughout.
The instrumentation is a standard orchestra with the addition of the slightly less common bass clarinet and contrabassoon. However, the low woodwinds are not what makes the instrumentation unique. What stands out is the rich collection of percussion instruments, requiring eight performers. Bernstein calls for everything from cuban cowbells, to sandpaper blocks, to four snare drums.
Divertimento consists of eight movements, each portraying a unique style. The first movement is titled Sennets and Tuckets after the stage directions Shakespeare used to denote fanfares. The B-C motive is immediately heard in the brass as part of an energetic opening. This was originally intended to be the whole piece, but Bernstein decided to continue playing with the motif.
The second movement, Waltz, is in a lopsided 7/8 meter, instead of the traditional 3/4. It is meant to remind the listener of the 5/4 waltz in movement two of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, a piece well liked by Bernstein’s mentor, Serge Koussevitzky. The B-C motif can be heard in the violin melody at the beginning of the movement.
The Mazurka is a significant timbre change, featuring double-reeds and harp. This movement also contains a direct quote of the oboe solo from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, a joke that the Boston Symphony’s musicians found quite amusing at the piece’s first rehearsal. The B-C motive is again heard at the beginning of this movement, this time in the oboe melody.
The Samba is where Bernstein makes use of the colorful percussion. The movement is reminiscent of some of Berstein’s older works, such as West Side Story and Candide. The B-C motive is less obvious in this movement, but can be found in the form of chromatic interjections.
Next is the Turkey Trot, another odd-metered dance. The measures in this movement alternate between four and three beats. The B-C motif can be found in the intro and in the clarinet melody.
Sphinxes is the shortest movement of the piece. It embodies a very different tone from the rest of the piece. It shares its name with a brief movement of Schumann’s Carnaval, an eerie series of octaves played in unison. This movement opens the same way, with unison octaves in the strings. Interestingly, Bernstein dodges the B-C motif in the beginning of the movement, going instead from B to C#. However, B-C is still heard later in the movement in the woodwinds.
After this, the piece leads immediately into Blues. This movement is solely brass and percussion and has a heavy swing feel. The B-C motif returns to the forefront here in the trumpet melody in the beginning of the movement.
The eighth and final movement is titled In Memoriam: March, “The BSO Forever.” This movement starts with melancholy flutes and is described by Bernstein’s amanuensis Jack Gottlieb as a “quiet meditation” that recalls “the conductors and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra no longer with us.” The movement then launches off into the march section, a complete mood change. The march is very similar to Strauss’s Radetzky March. The B-C motif is rampant throughout both sections of this movement. The flutes begin by repeating the two notes and launch the orchestra off into the march with a trill between the same two notes. The melody of the march is also centered around these two notes. At the end of the movement, Bernstein instructs the brass and piccolos to stand while they play the energetic ending. This is an homage to how Stars and Stripes Forever would be performed at Tanglewood. Finally, the piece ends with a triumphant, unison restatement of the B-C theme as a final thank you to the Boston Symphony.
-Sean Cooney (BM 2025)
Antonin Dvořák: Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22 (1875)
One of the world’s most prominent Czech composers, Antonín Dvořák was born in in the Austrian Empire on September 8, 1841. He is prominently known for including nationalistic qualities in his music; however, he also followed in the compositional structures of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. Dvořák created a wide variety of musical contributions, including symphonies, operas, string quartets, and even tone poems.
Early in his career in 1875, Dvořák composed his Serenade for Strings, a five movement piece for string orchestra. The piece is light, charming, and joyful, reflecting the halcyon life he was living with the thrill of being discovered helping to build his confidence as a composer. The first Moderato elaborates on a simple, yet beautiful, theme utilizing imitation to bring it to life. Second comes the Tempo di Valse, utilizing asymmetric phrasing of 5 bars to create the lilted, waltz feel. The third movement Scherzo brings in a lively melody, once again using imitation to elaborate upon the theme. Following comes a lyrical and calm Larghetto, creating stunning harmonies and modulations as an ethereal melody weaves in and out of the movement. Dvořák ends his Serenade with the most complex movement of the work, utilizing a traditional Sonata Form to create his Finale. He cleverly incorporates the melodies from the first, third, and fourth movements to create a stunning conclusion to one of his first masterworks.
-Sara Petty (MM 2021, DMA 2025)
About the Artists
Sharon Lavery, conductor
Sharon Lavery’s extensive career has led her to conduct in distinguished concert halls across the United States, including Carnegie Hall on several occasions. Currently, she serves as resident conductor of the University of Southern California Thornton Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. She has led the Thornton ensembles in concert on countless occasions, and served as music director of the Thornton Concert Orchestra for seven years. In addition to these duties at USC, Lavery teaches instrumental conducting.
Outside of USC, Sharon Lavery enjoys a successful professional career. Since 2007 she has been music director of the Downey Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble hailed as one of the best metropolitan orchestras in Southern California. Ms. Lavery has appeared as guest conductor with the Vermont Symphony, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, San Bernardino Symphony, La Jolla Symphony, La Brea Sinfonia of Los Angeles, and the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition Orchestra in Palm Springs, CA. For many years she held the post of cover conductor for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and has also served as cover conductor for the San Diego Symphony. She has been the assistant conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, the associate conductor of the Herbert Zipper Orchestra of Los Angeles, and has also served as music director of the MUSE International Music Day Festival in Chiba, Japan. In addition, she has made CD recordings with Delos Records, Inc. and at Warner Bros studio in Burbank, CA.
Lavery is also known as an advocate for music education. She has conducted the International Honors Performance Series Orchestra and Band, the Missouri All-State Orchestra, the California All-State High School Concert Band, and the Texas 4A All-State Band. Ms. Lavery has also served as a guest conductor for several district honor bands throughout California.
Hailing from Ossining, New York, Sharon 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.
Glenn Dicterow, guest concertmaster and leader
After more than three decades of service as concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2013 as the first holder of the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music, forging a new chapter in a distinguished, multifaceted career. In March 2022, he was named the Jascha Heifetz Chair in Violin at USC Thornton.
Dicterow made his debut in 1960, at age 11, as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, his New York Philharmonic debut following seven years later, again performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto. He became associate concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, joining his father, Harold Dicterow, the principal second violinist of that orchestra. He rose to the position of concertmaster three years later. Dicterow came to the New York Philharmonic in 1980, serving as concertmaster under four music directors, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, and Alan Gilbert.
Besides his first chair duties, Dicterow performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic annually, his renditions of Mozart, Brahms, Bruch and Bartok balanced by more recent concerti by Korngold, Rózsa and Szymanowski, plus contemporary compositions such as Aaron Jay Kernis’s Lament and Prayer and Karel Husa’s Violin Concerto. Highlights include the orchestra’s 1982 performance at the White House with Dicterow as soloist, a 1986 tour performing Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade After Plato’s “Symposium,” under the composer’s baton, and a 1990 performance of Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy, after Bizet, led by Zubin Mehta and shown on a PBS Live From Lincoln Center telecast.
Glenn Dicterow has participated in such leading chamber music festivals as those of Santa Fe, Seattle and Bowdoin, among many others. He is also a founding member of the Lyric Piano Quartet and the Amerigo Trio. His wide discography includes two separate New York Philharmonic recordings of Scheherazade, one led by Kurt Masur, the second by Yuri Temirkanov. His New York Legends recital includes the premiere recording of Bernstein’s Sonata For Violin and Piano, while his recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, in collaboration with violist Karen Dreyfus and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, is paired with William Thomas McKinley’s Concert Variations, written expressly for those forces. His music making extends to performing solos in the scores of such movies as The Turning Point, Altered States, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Interview With the Vampire.
The recipient of the Bronze Medal in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition of 1970, Dicterow studied under the tutelage of Erno Neufeld, Eudice Shapiro, Naoum Blinder, Manuel Compinsky, Henryk Szeryng and Jascha Heifetz. He received his B.A. in Music from the Juilliard School, where he was mentored by Ivan Galamian, years later serving on the Juilliard faculty himself. Besides his ongoing dedication to master classes, from Austin, Texas and Aspen to North Korea and Vietnam, Dicterow has chaired the innovative orchestral performance program at the Manhattan School of Music for two decades. He is also a faculty artist at the Music Academy of the West, following three years of participation in Music Academy Summer Festivals.
Bing Wang, guest principal violin II
Violinist Bing Wang joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as associate concertmaster in 1994. She previously held the position of principal second violin of the Cincinnati Symphony, and she has served on the faculty and as concertmaster at the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2003. Since 2009, she has served as guest concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, her tenure highlighted by a televised New Year’s concert conducted by Riccardo Muti.
As a soloist, Wang has won critical praise for her appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In September 1997, during the Philharmonic’s celebration of the Brahms anniversary year, she performed the composer’s “Double Concerto” with music director Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Hollywood Bowl. She made her Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut in May 2005 and appears annually as both concertmaster and soloist at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of composer John Williams, performing his signature movie classics such as Schindler’s List and his Fiddler on the Roof arrangement. Wang has appeared regularly with the American Youth Symphony since 1997, and she has been featured as a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Manhattan Symphony and other orchestras. In 2002, she gave her first performances in China since emigrating to the U.S., touring as a soloist with her hometown orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Active as a chamber musician, Wang has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Lang Lang, Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, among others. Chamber music appearances include performances at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, Germany. She also performs regularly on the Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Society series.
Bing Wang began studying the violin with her parents at the age of six. She entered the middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she was concertmaster of the school orchestra and graduated with highest honors. After coming to the United States to study with Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory, she received her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Glenn Dicterow. Bing Wang has been named an adjunct associate professor at the USC Thornton School of Music starting in 2012.
Karen Dreyfus, guest principal viola
Karen Dreyfus ranks high among the leading American violists of the current era. She maintains a richly varied career, dedicated to concertizing in solo, orchestral and chamber music settings, to her wide-ranging recordings, and to teaching.
Dreyfus began violin studies from an early age with her father, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Soon adopting the viola, her teachers included Leonard Mogill, Heidi Castleman and Martha Katz. Dreyfus subsequently graduated from Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Karen Tuttle and Michael Tree.
Maintaining an international performance schedule, among such groupings as Musicians From Marlboro, the New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble, Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, Dreyfus has collaborated in recital with Yehudi Menuhin at Carnegie Hall, and has concertized alongside such artists as Rudolf Serkin, Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, Chick Corea, and members of the Guarneri Quartet. She is also a founding member of the Lyric Piano Quartet and the Amerigo Trio.
Karen Dreyfus has recorded extensively, as a recitalist, an orchestral soloist, and as a chamber musician. Her premiere recital recording, entitled Romanze, for Bridge Records, was received with substantial critical acclaim. Her subsequent recording highlights include the William Walton Viola Concerto with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, in tandem with violinist Glenn Dicterow and the same orchestra. The American composer William Thomas McKinley wrote his Concert Variations as well as Viola Concerto No. 3 expressly for Dreyfus and Dicterow, who recorded the compositions for the MMC label, again with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Carl St.Clair. With the Lyric Piano Quartet, she has recorded Strauss, Turina and Dvorak.
Dreyfus was invited to join the viola faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in 1991, and began teaching orchestral repertoire at the school a decade later. She since added an affiliation at the Juilliard School, teaching a sonata class and chamber music.
Dreyfus’s festival participations are numerous, including performances at the Marlboro Music Festival, Casals, Tannery Pond Concerts, the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival, and Lorin Maazel’s Castleton (Virginia) Festival, with teaching stints and masterclasses at the Music Academy of the West, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, the Brevard Music Center and the Icicle Creek Music Festival. In the summer of 2015, Karen Dreyfus joined the viola faculty at the Music Academy of the West where she is also co-director of chamber music. She has distinguished herself as a recipient of many prizes both in this country and abroad, including the Naumburg Viola Competition (1982), the Lionel Tertis Competition (1980), and the Washington International Competition (1979). Karen Dreyfus joins the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2013 as Director of Chamber Music and Associate Professor of Viola.
Ben Hong, guest principal cello
Cellist Ben Hong joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993 at age 24 as a section player and six months later, he won the assistant principal cello position. He currently serves as associate principal cello, appointed by LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel in 2015. Hong also performs frequently as a soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. He has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Concerto appearances with the LA Phil have included the U.S. premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s cello concerto Kai, with Rattle conducting at the Ojai Music Festival; the LA Phil premiere of Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto, conducted by Long Yu at the Hollywood Bowl; and the U.S premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s concerto for cello and orchestra, en forme de pas de trois, conducted by Susanna Mälkki.
DreamWorks Pictures hired Hong to train Jamie Foxx and several other cast members of the 2009 film The Soloist. In addition, he was the featured soloist on the soundtrack, which was released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. In 2020, Hong was asked by the Los Angeles Lakers to perform a rendition of “Hallelujah” at the Staples Center as part of a pre-game tribute in memory of Kobe Bryant.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong won his native country’s national cello competition three years in a row before leaving home at age 13 for the Juilliard School. Later, he studied with Lynn Harrell at the USC School of Music before joining the LA Phil. Hong currently serves on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music and the Colburn School. Additionally, he frequently performs and teaches at music festivals throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe.
David Moore, guest principal bass
David Allen Moore graduated Summa Cum Laude from the USC Thornton School of Music in 1993 where he studied with Dennis Trembly, Paul Ellison, and John Clayton. Moore continued his studies in Boston, working privately with BSO principal bass Edwin Barker while performing with Boston Baroque, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Pops Esplanade orchestra. Moore performed as a substitute with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 1995-96 season, after which he was a member of the Houston Symphony bass section under maestro Christoph Eschenbach, from 1996 to 1999.
In 2000, Moore joined the bass section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Moore has participated in numerous festivals including Tanglewood, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart, and Kent/Blossom Summer Music Festival. He is an active recitalist and chamber musician, having performed in the Houston area with the Greenbriar Consortium, in Los Angeles with the Philharmonic’s New Music Group, and in San Diego with the Mainly Mozart Festival. He was also a featured clinician at the 1999 Texas Double Bass Symposium. From 2003-2009 Moore was a faculty member at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. Moore has been a faculty member of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music since 2000, and in the fall of 2010 joined the full-time faculty there while maintaining his position in the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since 2007 Moore has been a faculty member at Domaine Forget in Quebec, Canada.
In 2007, he began studies with internationally renowned double bass pedagogue and soloist François Rabbath in Paris. Moore received both the Diploma and Teaching Certificate from the Institut International Rabbath in February of 2009.
Moore has presented masterclasses in the United States and Canada at The Curtis Institute, Juilliard Conservatory, Rice University, New England Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, The Glenn Gould School, Northwestern University, and Boston University among others.
The double bass that Moore performs on with the Philharmonic is an instrument by Nicolo Gagliano made in 1735. His solo bass is a modern instrument by French luthier Christian Laborie. Moore uses bows designed especially for him by Parisian bowmaker Boris Fritsch that are a unique French/German hybrid designed to be played either overhand or underhand.
Olena Kaspersky, concertmaster
Sofia Llacer Chamberlain
Charlie Lin, principal
Sarah Beth Overcash
Sunwoo Lee, principal
Ji Sun Jung, principal
Andrew Hungness, principal
E Flat Clarinet
Daniel St. John*
Daniel St. John
Jorge Araujo Felix
*denotes principal on Respighi
^denotes principal on Bernstein