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SMTD Professor Named Dudamel Fellow by Los Angeles Philharmonic 

Christopher James Lees (photo right), lecturer of conducting and associate director of orchestras for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, is one of four conductors who will participate in the 2012-13 Dudamel Fellowship Program administered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Named for the Philharmonic’s dynamic young music director, Gustavo Dudamel, the fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a very select group of promising young conductors from around the world to develop their craft and enrich their musical experience through personal mentorship and participation in the LA Phil’s orchestral, education, and community programs.

Each of the fellows will work alongside Dudamel and musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and will also work with students in key LA Phil education programs. The program for each of the fellows will run separately for approximately four to six weeks each. Lees’s fellowship will take place in April 2013 during which he will hone his skills through observation and application, such as conducting Los Angeles Philharmonic youth concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, conducting Los Angeles Philharmonic Neighborhood Concerts, participating as a cover conductor, and serving as mentors themselves through participation in LA Phil education programs such as Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA).

Lees was also honored this summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, where he was awarded the Aspen Conducting Prize, the festival’s top award, which carries with it an appointment as assistant conductor for the festival in the summer of 2013.

In 2011-2012, Lees made debuts with the Detroit, Toledo, and Portland (Maine) Symphonies and served as an assistant conductor for multiple concert programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony for Robert Spano, Leonard Slatkin, Stéphane Danève, Bramwell Tovey, and many others.  He has also previously appeared in performance with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and at the Festival Internacional de Inverno de Campos do Jordao in Brazil, among others. Lees received his master’s degree in conducting at SMTD, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler.

— Marilou Carlin, U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance

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