Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue

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Guest Artist - Ray Ushikubo

Exhibiting an innate musicality well beyond his years, fifteen-year-old Japanese-American pianist Ray Ushikubo has already performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, and on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Since his solo orchestral debut at age 10 with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra at Los Angeles’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ray has appeared with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang at Orange County’s Segerstrom Concert Hall, and with pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Royce Hall in Los Angeles. A recipient of the prestigious Davidson Fellow Laureate Award in 2014, Ray won the 2016 Piano Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School.   

During the 2016–2017 season, Ray makes his debut with the Pasadena Symphony and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with conductor David Lockington.  He also performs the Grieg Piano Concerto with The Dream Orchestra at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.  

Recent engagements include performances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles-based ensemble MUSE/IQUE, the Asia America Youth Symphony; with conductors Jeffrey Kahane, Laura Jackson, David Benoit and Rachel Worby.  At age 13, he performed and conducted from the keyboard Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, with the Academy Virtuosi at the Colburn School.  More recently, Ray has given solo recitals at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and at the Colburn School.  He has also been a featured guest artist on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes It Great? series at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, on San Diego’s Mainly Mozart’s series Mozart & the Mind, and at the Griffith Observatory as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Immortal Beloved celebration, where he performed Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  

Also an accomplished violinist, Ray loves to perform for people and has done so in a variety of settings. In August 2015 he made a special appearance as piano and violin soloist in a concert presented by Grand Performances in Los Angeles. The program featured Ray performing traditional classical works alongside jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and electronic musician Daedalus, who “remixed’” improvised versions of the classical works, crossing the genres of classical, electronic music, and jazz.  Ray also joined both artists in an improvisatory encore.  He has performed as violin soloist at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2014 Gala celebration, “StradFest,” and with the New West Symphony as part of their Symphonic Adventures Program.  Ray performed as piano soloist at the Los Angeles Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) for a peace ceremony honoring Hiroshima atomic bomb victims.  

A 2014 Davidson Fellow Laureate, Ray was awarded $50,000 by the Davidson Institute for his music project “Circle of Life in Music.” Other awards include first prize at the first Steinway Concerto Competition at the 2015 Colburn Music Academy Piano Festival, the Young Artists Piano Prize at the 2013 Mondavi Young Artists Competition, the 2012 Steinway Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven Sonata, and first prize at the 2010 International Russian Music Piano Competition. Ray was a Gold Prize winner in the 2009 AADGT International Music Competition for piano and violin, leading to his Carnegie Hall debut.   

Ray has been featured several times on the nationally syndicated radio program From the Top, and was named one of their Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists. Ray has also been a featured speaker at TEDx Redmond.

Since 2010, Ray has studied piano with Ory Shihor at the Colburn School’s Music Academy, a pre-college program designed to prepare extraordinary young artists for careers as well-rounded professional musicians, where he is a Camille and Arnon Adar Scholar. At the Music Academy, he also studies violin with Robert Lipsett. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Innsbrook Institute Summer Music Academy. Ray’s other interests include math, wakeboarding, watching action movies, and Mercedes Benz automobiles.


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Conductor - David Lockington

Over the past thirty-five years, David Lockington has developed an impressive conducting career in the United States. A native of Great Britain, he has served as the Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra since January 1999 and has held the same position with the Modesto Symphony since May 2007. In March 2013, Mr. Lockington was appointed Music Director of the Pasadena Symphony. He also has a close relationship with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain and is currently the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor.

In addition to his current posts, since his arrival to the United States in 1978 Mr. Lockington has also held additional positions with American orchestras, including serving as Assistant Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and Opera Colorado and Assistant and Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In May 1993 he accepted the position of Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, assumed the title of Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in September 1995 and was Music Director of the Long Island Philharmonic for the 96/97 through 99/2000 seasons.

Mr. Lockington's guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Saint Louis, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Oregon and Phoenix symphonies; the Buffalo, Rochester and Louisiana Philharmonics; and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall. Internationally, he has conducted the Northern Sinfonia in Great Britain, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in Beijing and Taiwan and led the English Chamber Orchestra on a tour in Asia.

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include appearances with the New Jersey, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Utah, Pacific, Colorado, Nashville, San Diego, Syracuse, Edmonton, Alabama, Columbus and Kansas City symphonies, the Louisville Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Calgary Philharmonic. Mr. Lockington's summer festival activities include appearances at the Grand Teton, Colorado Music, Interlochen, Chautauqua and Eastern Music festivals.

David Lockington began his career as a cellist and was the Principal with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two years. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cambridge, Mr. Lockington came to the United States on a scholarship to Yale University where he received his Master's degree in cello performance and studied conducting with Otto Werner Mueller. He was a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and served as assistant principal cellist for three years with the Denver Symphony Orchestra before turning to conducting.