Chair, Winds & Percussion
Professor of practice
Sharon Lavery’s extensive career has led her to conduct in distinguished concert halls across the globe, including Carnegie Hall on several occasions. 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 National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Vermont Symphony, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, La Jolla Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, La Brea Sinfonia of Los Angeles, and the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition Orchestra. For many years she held the post of cover conductor for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and she 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, Lavery has conducted on CD recordings with Delos Records, Inc. and at Warner Bros studio in Burbank, CA.
In conjunction with her professional duties, Ms. Lavery serves as Resident Conductor of the Thornton Symphony, Chamber Orchestra, and Thornton Winds at the University of Southern California. She has led USC’s 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.
Ms. Lavery is also known as an advocate for music education. She has conducted several All-State orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the United States, and has served on the conducting faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp and the International Honors Performance Series.
Hailing from Ossining, New York, Lavery received her Bachelor of Music Education 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.
- MM, New England Conservatory of Music, 1993; MM, USC Thornton School of Music, 2000
- BM, Michigan State University