Conductor GRANT GERSHON, currently in his 16th season as the Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, is equally at home with choral and symphonic music, opera and musical theater. The Los Angeles Times has proclaimed that the Los Angeles Master Chorale has become “the most exciting chorus in the country under Gershon’s leadership,” and Opera News calls Mr. Gershon “a first-rate conductor.” Composer John Adams declares, "Grant Gershon is one of those rarities we call 'the complete musician.' My respect for his musicality — for his conducting, his extraordinary musical intuition and his formidable ear — knows no bounds.” In addition to his post with the Chorale, Mr. Gershon is Resident Conductor of LA Opera.
An ardent champion of new music, Mr. Gershon has led more than 100 performances with the Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall and has given numerous world premiere performances, including such major works as You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich; Requiem by Christopher Rouse; Iri da iri by Esa-Pekka Salonen, City of Dis by Louis Andriessen; Los Cantores de las Montañas by Gabriela Lena Frank ; Sang by Eve Beglarian; A Map of Los Angeles by David O; Spiral XII by Chinary Ung; Dream Variations by Andrea Clearfield; Voici le soir by Morten Lauridsen; Messages and BriefEternity by Bobby McFerrin and Roger Treece; Broken Charms by Donald Crockett; and Rezos (Prayers) by Tania León. He has also premiered works by John Adams, Ricky Ian Gordon, Billy Childs, Shawn Kirchner, Nackkum Paik and Don Davis; and given American premieres of works by Meredith Monk, Henryk Górecki, Thomas Jennefelt, James MacMillan, Tarik O’Regan and Mark Anthony Turnage, among others.
Throughout his career, Mr. Gershon has worked closely with many leading conductors, preparing choirs for Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle and his mentor, Esa-Pekka Salonen. In addition, Mr. Gershon has appeared as guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Utah Opera, Swedish Royal Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Juilliard Opera Theatre, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish chamber orchestra Avanti!, and the Coro e Orchestra Del Teatro Regio Di Torino in Turin, Italy, among others. He has also led performances at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Ravinia, Edinburgh, Vienna, Aspen and Helsinki festivals as well as the Roma-Europa Festival and the Festival Otonno in Madrid. Many of these appearances have been as music director for projects by famed director Peter Sellars, with whom Mr. Gershon has enjoyed a long and fruitful artistic relationship.
Among significant career highlights, Mr. Gershon made his highly acclaimed LA Opera debut in 2008 leading eight performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, about which the Los Angeles Times declared, “Grant Gershon, best known as the music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, proved an exacting, sensitive, deeply involving Verdi conductor.” With LA Opera he subsequently led the world premiere performances in 2010 of Daniel Catán’s critically acclaimed Il Postino, featuring Plácido Domingo, which was broadcast on the PBS Great Performances series, released on DVD by Sony Classical and toured to South America. He conducted L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato in a 2011 co-production with LA Opera and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center featuring the Mark Morris Dance Group, and led LA Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in 2012, Bizet’s Carmen in 2013, and Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas in 2014.
In 2014, he made back-to-back appearances at New York’s historic Trinity Wall Street, conducting the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street in a performance of Bach Cantatas, and the NOVUS NY Orchestra in a program of Berg, Milhaud and Messiaen; led the Baltimore Symphony and Young Artists from the Washington Opera in "A Night at the Opera”; and made his debut with the prestigious Coro e Orchestra Del Teatro Regio Di Torino in Turin, Italy, conducting the world premiere of James Newton’s St. Matthew Passion, part of a trilogy of sacred works by the composer.
Among other highlights, in 2013 he conducted The Gospel According To The Other Mary with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and the original cast of soloists at the Ravinia Festival; led Bizet’s Carmen with Wolf Trap Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap; and guest conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chorale in Phillip Glass’ the CIVIL warS, the Rome Section at Disney Hall. Additionally, Mr. Gershon made his Santa Fe Opera debut in 2011, conducting Peter Sellars’ new production of Vivaldi’s Griselda. He appeared on the Lincoln Center Great Performers series in 2006 leading the LA Master Chorale in vocal works of Steve Reich, and on the Making Music Series at Zankel Hall. In 2007, he conducted Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s acclaimed opera The Grapes of Wrath and led subsequent performances of the work with Utah Opera. In 2007, he also conducted the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus presentation of The Keepers of the Night, an opera by Peter Ash and Donald Sturrock, and made his debut at the Berkshire Choral Festival. He previously served as Music Director of the Idyllwild Arts Festival Chorus.
Mr. Gershon’s discography includes the cast recording of the opera The Grapes of Wrath (PS Classics) along with two Grammy Award-nominated recordings: Sweeney Todd (New York Philharmonic Special Editions) and Ligeti’s Grand Macabre (Sony Classical). He has also recorded six CDs with the Chorale, including David Lang’s the national anthems / the little match girl passion, released in 2016 on Cantaloupe Music; A Good Understanding, an all-Nico Muhly disc recorded at Disney Hall and released by Decca in September 2010; Miserere by Henryk Górecki, released in 2012 on Decca; Daniel Variations by Steve Reich, released in 2008 on Nonesuch Records and described by UK’s Guardian as “a searching, serious piece… one of Reich’s major statements”; You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich, released in 2005 on Nonesuch Records and honored with the WQXR Gramophone America Award in 2006 and selected by The New York Times, Washington Post and Newsday, among others, as one the top ten classical recordings of the year; and an RCM recording featuring Esa-Pekka Salonen’s first choral work, Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund, and Philip Glass’ Itaipu.
Prior to joining the Chorale, Mr. Gershon served as Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1994 to 1997, during which time he led performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Hollywood Bowl. He also served as Assistant Conductor/Principal Pianist with LA Opera from 1988 to 1994, where he participated in over 40 productions and garnered a reputation as one of the country’s exceptional vocal coaches. Additionally, he was Assistant Conductor at the Salzburg Festival, the Berlin Staatsoper and the Festival Aix-En-Provence.
As a pianist, Mr. Gershon has accompanied such leading singers as Peter Schreier, Rod Gilfry and Audra McDonald, as well as Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras in separate appearances on “The Tonight Show.” In addition, he has conducted choral recording sessions for the motion picture soundtracks of I Am Legend, Charlie Wilson’s War, Lady in the Water, Click and License to Wed, and recorded as countertenor soloist for The Green Lantern and The X Files: I Want To Believe. On screen, Mr. Gershon appeared as a pianist in two episodes of the hit television series Cheers.
He received his bachelor of music degree cum laude in piano performance from USC, and was named USC Thornton School of Music Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in May 2002. He currently serves on the USC Thornton Board of Advisors and the Board of Directors of Chorus America.