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Artist in Residence: The Legendary Larry Livingston

Larry Livingston is a renowned conductor, teacher, and speaker who currently serves as the Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Southern California. Maestro Livingston has worked with top professional and youth orchestras across the globe, and his work in administration is widely respected. He has served as the dean of prestigious institutions such as the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Mr. Livingston is well known for his ability to inspire students and musicians with his wisdom and vibrant energy.

The week of November 1st, the OCU Flute Studio had the opportunity to experience Larry Livingston’s renown for ourselves. While here, the conductor rehearsed with the OCU Symphony Orchestra, spoke to OCU Collegiate NAfME, and worked with local high school orchestras.

Larry Livingston Conducting the Orchestra
Larry Livingston leading the OCU Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Mahler’s second symphony.

Junior Katie Crim describes Maestro Livingston as generous, charismatic, and electrifying. As he rehearsed the orchestra, she was moved by his humanness. She writes that he “connected with the art in a way that was genuine and made us believe that we had the substance to expand and grow.”

While at OCU, Mr. Livingston rehearsed the first movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” and conducted it on the second orchestra concert of the season. He led the ensemble to explore Mahler’s history and delve into the themes and emotions behind the piece. Emma Gaona, an undergraduate flute performance major, was struck by the significance of learning a composer’s story, which she found served as an “unwritten roadmap” of how to perform a piece.

Larry Livingston with the orchestra flutists: (from left) Allison Demand, Katie Crim, Maestro Livingston, Kelsey Shanks, Emma Gaona.

During his residency, Larry Livingston also spoke to OCU’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Several of our studio members are music education majors and, as such, are members of Collegiate NafME. While primarily known for his work in university settings, Maestro Livingston served as Director of Educational Initiatives for the Guitar Center and has much wisdom to impart about music education. He led the chapter in a discussion about creating positive classroom cultures, diversifying the types of music offered in public schools, and maintaining passion for both music and teaching.

Senior music education major Sarah Hamel was struck by the sincere and meaningful way Maestro Livingston connected with people. She was inspired by his “humanistic approach,” which she hopes to use when addressing and motivating her own future students.

Larry Livingston and OCU Collegiate NAfME.

The music we made and the knowledge we gained from Larry Livingston will continue to impact us for years to come. Our studio-mates and colleagues were touched by the conductor’s authenticity and passion. We are grateful and honored to be part of a music program that offers us opportunities to learn from master artists like Maestro Livingston

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