Alumni Spotlight: Grant Gershon
By Kurt Johnson ’04
Grant Gershon was appointed music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale in July 2001; the 2008-09 season marks his eighth year at the Chorale’s helm. Described as “visionary,” he has garnered tremendous critical acclaim during his tenure with the renowned chorus. The Los Angeles Times proclaims that the Chorale “has become the most exciting chorus in the country under Grant Gershon.”
Since joining the Chorale, Gershon has expanded its repertoire considerably by conducting a number of world premieres, including Steve Reich’s You Are (Variations), which was also recorded by the choir and released by Nonesuch Records in September 2005. Other works premiered by the choir during Gershon’s tenure include Brief Eternity and Messages by ten-time Grammy® Award-winning artist Bobby McFerrin, The Voices of Angels by Grammy® Award-winning composer Billy Childs ’79, Thornton faculty member Donald Crockett’s ’74, MM ’76 Broken Charms, as well as the U.S. premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s first choral work, Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund.
Prior to joining the Chorale, Gershon served as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1994-97, during which time he led performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Hollywood Bowl. He has also served as assistant conductor/principal pianist with the Los Angeles Opera.
Born and raised in Alhambra, California, Gershon received his bachelor of music degree cum laude in piano performance from USC in 1985 and was named “Thornton School of Music Outstanding Alumnus of the Year” in May 2002. He was named an Honorary Board Member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus in 2005. In 2006 Gershon joined the USC Thornton Board of Advisors and in 2008, delivered the school’s commencement address. Gershon and his wife, soprano Elissa Johnston ’84, and their children, Claire and Samuel, reside in Eagle Rock, California.
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