Living with a Genius Interviews

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The Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz is my guest this week. He's brilliant, kind and has a lot to say about the vital role music plays in our lives. Enjoy!

How to make a living as a musician out of college? Wear many hats.

Sara Widzer is my guest, this week. Sara and I me…

Sara Widzer is my guest, this week. Sara and I met once-upon-a-time, during a production of Faust. I had a tie-on wig- that's how long ago. She's since gone on to direct in A houses across the country. Directorial style, the process, and politics in opera are all on the table, along with a whole bunch more interesting stuff. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Thanksgiving 2017

Mon Nov 27 2017 (06:52)

Giving thanks. Gratitude. Exercises we'd all do w…

Giving thanks. Gratitude. Exercises we'd all do well to practice more often. No guests, no jokes, just me reminiscing, choking up and being philosophical. I'm grateful for you all- thanks for listening.

Jennifer Miller is my guest this week. Jen and I …

Jennifer Miller is my guest this week. Jen and I go back to 2009, where we performed together in a production of Faust- she as Marguerite and me as Faust. That's us in the picture, way back then. Jen has since moved on to KUSC, where she hosts a show entitled, "California Classical All Night." "How do you make a living when you get out of music school" is a constant theme on my show, and this episode is no exception. Jen's at the beginning of her radio career, and she's killing it! Enjoy!

Louise Palanker is a true polymath. Comedian, aut…

Louise Palanker is a true polymath. Comedian, author, performer, radio host, and entrepreneur are just a few words to describe her many fields of expertise, and we talk about it all in this great episode. She was also a witness for the prosecution and her eventual (and current) husband, Ron Zonen, during the Michael Jackson trial in 2005- and yes, we talk about that, along with sexual harassment at The Comedy Store, working on shows from That's Incredible to Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, and a whole ...

Veronica Christenson has been a colleague of mine…

Veronica Christenson has been a colleague of mine at the LA Opera for over a decade, and this was my chance to have a few minutes with this lovely lady all to myself. She's a world-class mezzo, but that's not the only reason I wanted to chat... she's also a student of Shaolin Kung Fu Meditation! I've dabbled both in martial arts and meditation, and I'm thrilled to have her on the show to teach me more about it all! Try meditation, folks. It'll change your life- Enjoy!

Composer, arranger, producer, Stephen Edwards is …

Composer, arranger, producer, Stephen Edwards is on the show! With more than 175 soundtrack and composer credits to his name, Stephen is one of Hollywood's most productive composers. He's also written classical compositions, most notably his Requiem For My Mother, which received performances both at Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. Stephen is a great guy, and there's a lot to learn about, here! Enjoy!

Singer, producer, composer, Ron Dante is my guest…

Singer, producer, composer, Ron Dante is my guest this week! You know him as the voice of the Archies and their smash-hit single, "Sugar Sugar." But did you know that he co-produced, along with the Schuberts, the Tony Award-winning musical, Ain't Misbehavin'? Or that he produced NINE of Barry Manilow's albums? Or that he was the editor of the Paris Review for almost a decade? Or that he's writing and producing a new musical about the Reagans with Rupert Holmes?? Me neither! But I do now- and you ...

Opera director, engineer, and designer, Thaddeus …

Opera director, engineer, and designer, Thaddeus Strassberger is my guest this week! Thaddeus has been to LA before, and he's one of my favorite directors working today. Art, commerce, politics- it's all here- enjoy!

Episode 81: Tenor, impresario - Mario Chang

Mon Oct 09 2017 (01:08:32)

Tenor, Mario Chang is my guest this week. We firs…

Tenor, Mario Chang is my guest this week. We first worked with him in La Boheme, and now he's back, singing the role of Ismaele in our current production of Nabucco, here in LA. We also talk at great length about the opera company founded by him and his wife with the purpose of supporting opera performance and training in his home country of Guatemala. Fascinating guy- Enjoy!

Kelley O'Connor is on LWAG! Kelley and I go way b…

Kelley O'Connor is on LWAG! Kelley and I go way back, and this is the kind of chat you get when old pals get together. We dish, we reminisce, we dish some more. Kelly also sings around the world as a top-drawer concertizer, and we get into that, and why she prefers concerts over operatic roles. Lots of personal stuff here too, so if you ever feel like being a fly on the wall, this one's for you. Enjoy!

Choral titan, John Alexander is my guest this wee…

Choral titan, John Alexander is my guest this week. This was a very personal chat for me- John was my champion all through college, giving me most of the tenor solos and giving me my first professional opportunities as a singer. He's the real deal, and I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

My cousin Pete is on the show!! Pedro Alonzo is a…

My cousin Pete is on the show!! Pedro Alonzo is an internationally recognized art curator who works with the biggest names in contemporary art. Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Yoshitomo Nara, KAWS, Takashi Murakami are just a few of the folks he's worked with, but most recently, like- a week ago, Pete teamed up with artist JR and erected a border wall installation in Tecate, Mexico, which I bet you've come across if you read the news at all. It's an amazing piece that couldn't be more relevant in today' ...

Josh Shaw is the Artistic Director of the Pacific…

Josh Shaw is the Artistic Director of the Pacific Opera Project, right here, in sunny Los Angeles. He's a singer turned director and opera company owner. We talk the ins and outs of running a company, the motivation for undertaking such a crazy idea, and his take on how to be successful at it. Thanks for listening- Enjoy!

The indomitable Gloria Loring, y'all! We talk chi…

The indomitable Gloria Loring, y'all! We talk childhood, her marriage to Alan Thicke, divorce, motherhood, her number one hit, "Friends and Lovers", Days of our Lives, and a whole bunch more! Happy Labor Day and thanks for listening- Enjoy!

Victor Vanacore has worked with some of the bigge…

Victor Vanacore has worked with some of the biggest names in the history of pop music- Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and many, many others. In 2004, Victor won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for, "Over the Rainbow", on the Ray Charles album, "Genius Loves Company", which won eight Grammys, including Album of the Year. Victor's upcoming project, la Sorgente, comes to the Ford Theater on Oct. 8 and features arias set to the poetry ...

Musician, voice-over artist and the original voic…

Musician, voice-over artist and the original voice of Siri, Susan Bennett is my guest today! It was great getting the scoop on how one becomes the voice of Siri, the hiring process and the secretive process that Apple uses for this kind of thing. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the chat!

Susan Bennett- The voice of Siri

Sat Aug 19 2017 (01:02)

*ding ding* "Hey Siri, Call Susan Bennett" *ding …

*ding ding* "Hey Siri, Call Susan Bennett" *ding ding* "Sorry, Omar, but I AM Susan Bennett." That's right, folks- the original voice of Siri, right here on LWAG- tune in this Monday!

Episode 73: Jasper Randall

Mon Aug 14 2017 (59:04)

Jasper Randall is my guest this week! Jasper is o…

Jasper Randall is my guest this week! Jasper is one of the very few titans of Hollywood vocal music in the world, having worked on COUNTLESS blockbuster soundtracks over the last two decades- little films like Frozen, X-Men, La-La Land, and the upcoming movies, It, Pitch Perfect 3, Cloverfield, etc, etc, etc... Jasper sings, conducts, and is also a fine composer, currently in residence with the Los Robles Master Chorale. This is a great interview for folks wanting to get to know the man behind t ...

Episode 72: Moira Smiley

Mon Aug 07 2017 (51:43)

The talented and lovely Moira Smiley is my guest,…

The talented and lovely Moira Smiley is my guest, this week! Not only talented and lovely, Moira is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer whose music can be heard on feature films, BBC & PBS television programs, NPR, and on more than 60 albums. We play, "Bring Me Little Water, Silvey" all the time around the house while we sing to our kids. It may be the Chicken Tikka Masala of her catalogue to all you deep-cuts-only die-hard Moira fans, but hey- I never get tired of Chicken Tikka, so ...

Composer of over 50 blockbuster soundtracks, incl…

Composer of over 50 blockbuster soundtracks, including the upcoming beloved animated tale, "Ferdinand" and, "HAN SOLO"!!! Yup, it's John Powell, y'all! Enjoy!

Summer Break Flashback: Jeff Beal

Mon Jul 24 2017 (52:42)

Jeff Beal!! One of my favorite humans is making h…

Jeff Beal!! One of my favorite humans is making his re-appearance for my Summer Flashback extravaganza! Jeff is everywhere- I honestly don't know how he does it all, and he really does do it all (unlike some other film composers we know who shall go unnamed). Jeff and his lovely wife, Joan are proof that you can be fun, considerate, open and genuinely nice and still be wildly successful in Hollywood. Enjoy our chat, and thanks for listening!

Happy summer, y'all! For this week's episode of m…

Happy summer, y'all! For this week's episode of my Summer Flashback Series, I've got poet, scholar, professor and all-around great guy, Tony Silvestri on the show! We had this chat a year ago, but it's every bit as relevant as it ever was- we talk about life, death and everything in between- Enjoy!

Summer Break Flashback: Michael Nielsen

Mon Jul 10 2017 (53:35)

Today, for my Summer Break Flashback series, Ninj…

Today, for my Summer Break Flashback series, Ninja Tracks composer and guitarist, Michael Nielsen, is my guest! Michael is a great guy, and I guarantee you know his music... Forza 6/7 and Splinter Cell for XBOX, independent film scores and just about every major motion picture trailer you've heard in the last ten years. He's also got a terrifically entertaining YouTube channel called "Big Hairy Guitars", where he reviews all sorts of guitars, pedals and gear, so make sure to check it out- Enjoy ...

Maestro James Conlon, y'all! I bet you're curious…

Maestro James Conlon, y'all! I bet you're curious how one becomes the Music Director of Los Angeles Opera and Principal Conductor of the Italian RAI National Symphony Orchestra- well, here's your chance! We cover it from nuts to bolts- stories, stories, stories- Maria Callas, Juilliard, The Big Break and a whole lot more! Happy summer, everyone- Enjoy!

Summer Break Flashback: Grant Gershon

Mon Jun 26 2017 (01:04:45)

Continuing my summer break, I’m reissuing another…

Continuing my summer break, I’m reissuing another one of my favorites: Grant Gershon! The LAMC, LA Opera and the International stage are his homes. A master musician, Grant is not only one of the best in the biz, he's also unbelievably pleasant, inspirational and dedicated to his art. I hope you enjoy our extended chat!

Summer Break Flashback: Shawn Kirchner

Mon Jun 19 2017 (01:25:12)

Composer, pianist, vocalist and peace-lover, Shaw…

Composer, pianist, vocalist and peace-lover, Shawn Kirchner is my guest this week. I had a great time getting to know Shawn over the course of our chat and as it goes sometimes, I feel like we left a lot of subjects untouched. Also, I made a couple flubs that I'll fess up to right now- first, I think I said that 'Memorare' was premiered in 2015, when in fact, it was not. Also, I guessed Rumi where the quote was from S.T. Coleridge. So, there. Listen, I do great on those Facebook quizzes, so I'm ...

Episode 71: Roberto Cani

Mon Jun 12 2017 (01:01:43)

Roberto Cani, concertmaster of the LA Opera Orche…

Roberto Cani, concertmaster of the LA Opera Orchestra, is my guest this week! We get into it- childhood, career, defeats and triumphs. Roberto is an open book, and it's one of the qualities I enjoy most about this fascinating master musician. Enjoy!

Episode 70: Nino Sanikidze

Mon Jun 05 2017 (55:43)

Nino Sanikidze, pianist extraordinaire, is my gue…

Nino Sanikidze, pianist extraordinaire, is my guest. There's nothing better for a singer than finding a collaborator who LOVES singers, has a tremendous breadth of knowledge and is one of the very best at what he or she does. Nino is all of these things. Oh, and she's really sweet and supportive. Nino is one of a kind, and I hope you enjoy our chat- I sure did.

Episode 69: Miah Im

Mon May 29 2017 (50:35)

Pianist, conductor, coach, prompter and erstwhile…

Pianist, conductor, coach, prompter and erstwhile violinist, Miah Im is my guest this week. She's one of those people who almost always has a smile on her face, despite the fact that she's a musical force to be reckoned with. That seem like a rare find in any field, especially music. This is another great episode for folks who are interested in getting into the classical music biz, because Miah seems to do a bit of everything! Thanks for listening- Enjoy!

Episode 68: Russell Thomas

Mon May 22 2017 (47:32)

Tenor, Russell Thomas, is my guest this week! We …

Tenor, Russell Thomas, is my guest this week! We talk about career, rep, fees, finances, retirement and a whole lot more. Russell is a world-class talent, and he’s very thoughtful and quick to share his insights- especially regarding the precarious and careful climb to the top. Enjoy!

Episode 67: Shola Richards

Mon May 15 2017 (50:52)

Positivity guru, Shola Richards, is my guest this…

Positivity guru, Shola Richards, is my guest this week! This guy's the real deal- we talk about very personal memories and events in our lives, and the catalysts for change. Shola's hot button is bullying, especially in the workplace )something adults don't talk about) and he's on a mission to educate, enlighten and sow the seeds of positivity, kindness, and empathy- this is a guy I can get behind, because these are the most important qualities within all of us, and sometimes, we need a little h ...

Episode 66: Todd Strange & Arnold Geis

Mon May 08 2017 (50:55)

Hey y'all! It's our, "Three Tenors of the LAO Cho…

Hey y'all! It's our, "Three Tenors of the LAO Chorus" episode! Yup- Todd Strange and Arnold Geis are my guests this week, and I couldn't be happier. It was a VERY last minute proposition, but this episode is certainly in keeping with my need to mix things up. Totally improvised, off the cuff, and EXACTLY the conversation you'd get if you were a fly on the wall in the dressing room. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Episode 65: James Martin Schaefer 2017

Mon May 01 2017 (59:38)

Marty Schaefer is my guest this week. Marty and I…

Marty Schaefer is my guest this week. Marty and I have known each other for twenty years now. I thought I needed a little break this week, so this chat is just a convo between buddies- nothing more. We're not experts in any of the topics we discuss and we don't talk about music. At all. Bathroom accidents, aliens, healthcare, Trump, and religion are all on the table, with this one- you get the idea. Maybe next time, we'll go in with more of an agenda, who knows. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Episode 64: Philip Cokorinos

Mon Apr 24 2017 (47:44)

Bass-baritone, Phil Cokorinos is my guest this we…

Bass-baritone, Phil Cokorinos is my guest this week. Phil has sung with us at least a half-dozen times in my twelve years with LAO. Always the consummate professional and great colleague, Phil manages to turn in great performances, night after night. This is a particularly interesting chat for all of you aspiring opera singers out there, and for those of you who want to get a glimpse into the dedication that goes into it. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Episode 63: Vittorio Grigolo

Mon Apr 17 2017 (32:44)

Superstar tenor, Vittorio Grigolo is my guest thi…

Superstar tenor, Vittorio Grigolo is my guest this week. I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to sit and chat with this powerhouse of a performer. He's frank, candid, and very sure of his place in this crazy business. We talk about passion, life on and off stage, the pressures of performing and the challenges of balancing the personal with the professional. I hope you enjoy our chat, and thanks for listening!

Episode 62: Nicholas Brownlee

Mon Apr 10 2017 (52:23)

Rising star, Nicholas Brownlee is my guest this w…

Rising star, Nicholas Brownlee is my guest this week. He's a bass-baritone currently working in the Domingo-Colburn Young Artist Program at LAO. I've watched and heard him grow over the past few seasons, and man, you all better watch out for him! There are a lot of great insights for young singers, and a great come-up story for those of you who are interested in how a singer makes the rise. Nick is a genuine, friendly guy, a great colleague and one hell of a singer. Enjoy, and thanks for listeni ...

Episode 61: Ted Perlman

Mon Apr 03 2017 (01:04:16)

Producer, arranger, performer, Ted Perlman is my …

Producer, arranger, performer, Ted Perlman is my guest on this episode, and man is it a great one! Ted has worked with many of the greatest performers of all time, spanning four-plus decades. We talk about religion, forgiveness, fatherhood, and the meaning of life- and Burt Bacharach, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, and you know, other superstars, too. It was great getting to know Ted over the course of our conversation, and I know you'll find him just as fascinating as I did. Enjoy, and thanks for ...

Episode 60: Sharon Farber

Mon Mar 27 2017 (01:07:35)

Film and TV composer, Sharon Farber, is my guest …

Film and TV composer, Sharon Farber, is my guest this week. I've known Sharon for a number of years, and I'm always excited to bump into her around town. She's a brilliant composer of concert music (as well as the Hollywood stuff), and through her music, she is also an admirable advocate for issues near and dear to her, particularly gender equality in music and Holocaust remembrance, both of which we talk at great lengths about in this interview. Sharon has always fought the good fight, and I wa ...

Episode 59: Haim Mazar

Mon Mar 20 2017 (57:56)

Film and TV composer, Haim Mazar is my guest this…

Film and TV composer, Haim Mazar is my guest this week. I met Haim a few years ago on a crazy gun-for-hire musical theater project. Taking a variety of work is one of the topics we discuss, along with the process of composing, orchestrating and the pitfalls and challenges of the film and TV business. I think Haim is a great guy, and I know you'll think so, too. Thanks for Listening!

Episode 57: Tali Tadmor

Mon Mar 06 2017 (46:47)

This week, I got to sit and chat with another one…

This week, I got to sit and chat with another one of my dear friends, the indomitable Tali Tadmor. An extraordinary pianist and collaborator, Tali makes the rounds around town with the best singers and organizations- and when I say around town, I mean from LA Opera to Carnegie Hall. She's good. I hope you enjoy our conversation- thanks for listening!

Episode 56: Christopher Koelsch

Tue Feb 28 2017 (01:07:30)

CEO of LA Opera, Christopher Koelsch, is my guest…

CEO of LA Opera, Christopher Koelsch, is my guest this week. He's eloquent, steady and has a clear, unwavering artistic vision for the company. In our world, the man who directs traffic at the intersection of art and commerce is always in the hot-seat, and Christopher must have "Never let them see you sweat" printed on his wallpaper because he's the coolest of the cool customers. We dig into some pretty interesting stuff- everything from the value of art itself to the artistic and financial chal ...

Episode 55: Julia Aks

Mon Feb 20 2017 (51:03)

Multidisciplinarian, Julia Aks, is my guest this …

Multidisciplinarian, Julia Aks, is my guest this week. She's a mezzo-soprano, friend, and colleague from LA Opera, but that's not all she does. She's an aerialist, actor, intermittent dancer, and probably also does a bunch of other stuff that we didn't cover. She very well may be the next big thing in this here town, so keep a lookout. Happy Monday, everybody, and I hope you like our little chat!

Episode 54: Brenton Ryan

Mon Feb 13 2017 (47:10)

Tenor, Brenton Ryan is my guest this week. He's a…

Tenor, Brenton Ryan is my guest this week. He's a swell guy, as all-American as you can get and is one heck of a good artist. He's recently made his Met debut singing the role of Pedrillo in Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio- the same show we're performing right now at LAO. Brent is a well-spoken gentleman, and I'm very glad we got the chance to sit around and chat. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Episode 53: Jonathan Mangum

Mon Feb 06 2017 (45:43)

Comedian Jonathan Mangum is my guest this week. H…

Comedian Jonathan Mangum is my guest this week. He co-hosts Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Brady, and is a regular guest on Who's Line is it, Anyway? He's funny, witty and very pleasant as we discuss his professional background, improv training and the role of the artist in this heightened political climate. Have a great week, and I hope you enjoy the chat!

Episode 50-51: Eric Whitacre 2017

Mon Jan 30 2017 (01:34:42)

Here's my complete chat with my Genius friend, Er…

Here's my complete chat with my Genius friend, Eric Whitacre. 1:35, straight through, with no stops. Enjoy, and don't forget to make your donations to the ACLU!

Episode 52: Morris Robinson

Mon Jan 30 2017 (32:48)

Morris Robinson, bass, is my guest on this episod…

Morris Robinson, bass, is my guest on this episode. We talk about family, preparation, perseverance, and the importance of being a good colleague. Lots of lessons here, and not a word about politics, which is pretty weird for me. I hope you enjoy the interview and remember to give your donation to the ACLU. Thanks for listening!

Episode 51: Eric Whitacre 2017 - Part 2

Mon Jan 23 2017 (56:05)

Here's part two of my chat with Eric Whitacre. Th…

Here's part two of my chat with Eric Whitacre. This is how we talk a good part of the time, so I hope you enjoy this meandering conversation between friends. We cover a lot of ground, and I tend to talk less on this one, so that's a plus. Thanks for listening, and have a great week!

Episode 50: Eric Whitacre 2017 - Part 1

Mon Jan 16 2017 (48:41)

Part one of a two-parter with Eric Whitacre. Eric…

Part one of a two-parter with Eric Whitacre. Eric and I have been friends for the better part of two decades, and that's what you get with this chat. We ramble, laugh, joke, and get into some pretty serious issues- You know, all the stuff that friends talk about. It's just us, behind the scenes, having a conversation, no more, no less. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Episode 49: Eric Whitacre 2016

Mon Jan 09 2017 (01:05:16)

Eric, Eric, Eric. I thought I'd keep on with the …

Eric, Eric, Eric. I thought I'd keep on with the theme. Last week you heard some of my past guests answer Eric Whitacre's infamous question, asking, "What do you know now, that you didn't know at this time, last year?" This week, we're looping back to my (second) first guest, Eric Whitacre. Next Week, we'll be picking up with... you guessed it... Eric Whitacre. It looks like January is Eric Whitacre month. I've successfully used the name, "Eric Whitacre" at least four times, here. Mission accomp ...

LWAG End Of The Year Extravaganza

Tue Jan 03 2017 (31:47)

Well, here we are, a year older and a year wiser,…

Well, here we are, a year older and a year wiser, hopefully. 2016 was wonderful, challenging, tragic and beautiful for me, and this year, I started it off with the question posed to me every year by my friend, Eric Whitacre: "What do you know now, that you didn't know at this time, last year?" In this episode, I answer this very question, along with sixteen of my past guests from 2016. I hope you all have the best year yet and, as always, thanks for listening!

Brandon Ogborn: Part 4

Mon Dec 26 2016 (49:05)

This concludes my terrific conversation with auth…

This concludes my terrific conversation with author/raconteur, Brandon Ogborn. I really hope you enjoyed the chat because I'm pretty sure you'll be hearing more from him in the very near future- More details to come! Stay tuned for my year-end wrap-up coming in the next few days, then a small break to regroup before my grand re-opening in January. Thanks for listening - 'till next time!

Brandon Ogborn - Part 3

Wed Dec 21 2016 (31:12)

Here's part 3 of my long chat with author/raconte…

Here's part 3 of my long chat with author/raconteur, Brandon Ogborn. We get into his play, "The Tomkat Project", finally. If you've been following, then I'm sure you'll enjoy it. If you haven't, you should. Thanks for listening!

Episode 47: Kristin Towers-Rowles

Mon Dec 19 2016 (01:09:47)

Multi-award-winning actress, singer, dancer, and …

Multi-award-winning actress, singer, dancer, and director, Kristin Towers-Rowles is my guest this week. A mainstay of the Los Angeles theater community, Kristin is a consummate professional on stage, and off stage, she's frank, forthcoming and engaging. During our chat, we talk about politics, the LA theater community, growing up in a Hollywood family and all sorts of very personal stuff that many of you may relate to- I sure did. Enjoy!

Brandon Ogborn - Part 2

Wed Dec 14 2016 (29:07)

Don't miss Part 2 of my long, long chat with raco…

Don't miss Part 2 of my long, long chat with raconteur, Brandon Ogborn, as we cover stories like Pop-Can Pete, old-school pedophiles, and Bubba The Butter Holder. Oh and the resurrection of his nickname, "Bubba." Enjoy! And if you missed Part 1, don't fret. It's right here: www.soundcloud.com/livingwithagenius/episode-46a-brandon-ogborn

Episode 46: Roger Bart

Mon Dec 12 2016 (30:53)

Roger Bart- I mean, what can I say? We just wrapp…

Roger Bart- I mean, what can I say? We just wrapped 'Wonderful Town' at LA Opera, and I just couldn't believe the level of professionalism on that stage. Watching him do his thing up close was a real thrill, and so was having him on the show- Thanks, Roger!

Brandon Ogborn - Part 1

Thu Dec 08 2016 (31:47)

This is Brandon Ogborn. We had a two-hour-long co…

This is Brandon Ogborn. We had a two-hour-long conversation. We may be partnering up on a new show idea he has, which I think you all will enjoy, and he wrote a play called The Tomkat Project, which is the story of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I loved it, and I know you will too, so I think you should pick up a copy here: http://www.brandonogborn.com/. Enjoy part one of our very long, but very entertaining chat, and thanks for listening!

Episode 45: Joshua Guerrero

Mon Dec 05 2016 (58:45)

Tenor, Joshua Guerrero is my guest this week. I f…

Tenor, Joshua Guerrero is my guest this week. I first met him a few years ago at LAO, where he started as a young artist. He's since gone on to sing principle roles at the opera, and is now well on his way to having a long and fruitful career. I enjoyed our chat, and I hope you do too- thanks for listening!

Episode 44: Anthony Roth Costanzo

Sun Nov 27 2016 (46:07)

Anthony Roth Costanzo is my guest this week. He i…

Anthony Roth Costanzo is my guest this week. He is currently starring in the title role of the Philip Glass opera, Akhnaten at LA Opera. Today is our final performance, but the chance to sit with this fine gentleman arose, so I grabbed it. He's insightful, kind, funny and very candid. I've really enjoyed listening to him perform this most challenging role, and I'm glad to have gained a bit of insight into what makes this fellow tick. I hope you enjoy the chat as much as I did- cheers!

Episode 43: Matthew Aucoin

Mon Nov 21 2016 (51:31)

Born in 1990, Matthew Auc.... BORN IN 1990?? Yup.…

Born in 1990, Matthew Auc.... BORN IN 1990?? Yup. Welp, despite my crushing feeling of inadequacy and confusion about my life choices, I'm super-excited to have 26-year-old conductor, composer, pianist, and poet, Matthew Aucoin as my guest this week. He's made his mainstage conducting debut with us, at the LA Opera, in our current production of Akhnaten, and he's all of the things I've mentioned above, but with a large helping of modesty, graciousness, and collegiality. I hope you enjoy our chat ...

Episode 42: Phelim McDermott

Mon Nov 14 2016 (59:56)

Episode 42: Phelim McDermott Phelim is the direct…

Episode 42: Phelim McDermott Phelim is the director of our current production of Akhnaten at LA Opera. I love this show. I also love the passion, conviction, and freedom that Phelim has given us to help deliver a truly powerful emotional message to our audience. Phelim also operates an experimental theater company called, Improbable- look him up at www.improbable.co.uk. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

Episode 41: Levi Petree and Sean Novak

Mon Nov 07 2016 (51:19)

I met Levi through Sean, who I met through his wi…

I met Levi through Sean, who I met through his wife, Christina, who went to college with my wife. Levi is cool. He plays country music, and I like it. Sean is also cool. We talk about music, politics, success, hardship, and keeping your nose to the grindstone in the face of adversity- Listen and enjoy! Check out the band at: www.levipetree.com

Episode 40: Sean Gandini

Mon Oct 31 2016 (44:34)

World-renowned juggler, Sean Gandini joins me tod…

World-renowned juggler, Sean Gandini joins me today, and I couldn't be more thrilled. We all juggle in our current (and magnificent) production of Akhnaten by Philip Glass, and Sean and his troupe are leading us in our efforts. It's a first for all of us, and it's thrilling. Sean's background is fascinating, he's kind, thoughtful and terrifically talented. I only wish our chat could have been longer- I'm sure you'll agree. Enjoy! PS- check out his fascinating work at: www.gandinijuggling.com

Episode 39: Jonathan Talberg

Mon Oct 24 2016 (01:05:28)

Choral director Jonathan Talberg is my guest, thi…

Choral director Jonathan Talberg is my guest, this week. We chat about everything from the state of music education, to the "Eric Whitacre effect" and a whole bunch of other stuff. Enjoy!

Episode 38: Jake Runestad

Mon Oct 17 2016 (48:26)

Jake Runestad is my guest this week. He's handsom…

Jake Runestad is my guest this week. He's handsome, talented and really, really sweet. I mean, really- WTF? He's a terrific composer from the mid-west who happened to be in Los Angeles AND he reached out to me to be on the show. I guess we're officially members of the mutual-admiration club, now. I really enjoyed listening to his work in preparation for the interview, and I'm glad I got to know this fine fellow a little bit over the course of our conversation. I hope you enjoy our chat as much a ...

Episode 37: Claire Friday

Mon Oct 10 2016 (58:11)

Claire Friday is my guest this week. She's gone f…

Claire Friday is my guest this week. She's gone from working backstage at the LA Opera to covering the RNC, DNC and the presidential debates for Facebook, all in the short time that I've known her. She's smart, driven and easy to chat with. I like Claire and I bet you will, too- Enjoy!

Episode 36: James Conlon

Mon Oct 03 2016 (49:52)

I'm very excited to have Maestro James Conlon on …

I'm very excited to have Maestro James Conlon on my show this week! He's conducted all over the world, is a multi-Grammy winner, a scholar and gentleman. Work, family, and Maria Callas are a few of the things we talked about- I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

Episode 35: Anne Tomlinson

Mon Sep 26 2016 (41:37)

Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Children's C…

Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, Anne Tomlinson is my guest this week. We've worked with the kids from LACC at the opera for years, and they always turn in wonderful work- the kids are amazing. Having a son and a daughter, I was personally interested in learning more about their great program, and how the students are prepared for performing and for life after LACC. I hope you enjoy the chat- thanks for listening!

Episode 34: Arturo Chacon - Cruz

Mon Sep 19 2016 (40:11)

Tenor, Arturo Chacon-Cruz is my guest this week. …

Tenor, Arturo Chacon-Cruz is my guest this week. I've been a fan of his singing for years, and his personality is just as pleasant as his voice. We had a great chat- I hope you enjoy it, too!

Episode 33: John Powell Part 2

Mon Sep 12 2016 (53:49)

Part two of my two-part interview with the great …

Part two of my two-part interview with the great John Powell. Enjoy!

Episode 32: John Powell Part 1

Mon Sep 05 2016 (54:04)

I'm thrilled to have composer John Powell as my g…

I'm thrilled to have composer John Powell as my guest this week. He is a titan in the film music world, and a thoughtful, brilliant human being. Our chat went long, so it's a two-parter. I hope you enjoy it, and make sure to tune in next week for part two. Thanks for listening!

Episode 31: Fletcher Sheridan

Mon Aug 22 2016 (45:42)

Fletcher Sheridan is a name you may not recognize…

Fletcher Sheridan is a name you may not recognize, unless you're in the sequestered world of session work in Los Angeles. But, you've no doubt heard Fletcher's solo voice in films like The Lorax, The Hangover 3, Horton Hears a Who, and as a playback singer on just about every major motion picture that uses voices coming out of LA. I think Fletch is super cool, and I know you will, too. Enjoy!

Episode 30: Dale Trumbore

Mon Aug 15 2016 (54:56)

Composer Dale Trumbore is my guest this week. I l…

Composer Dale Trumbore is my guest this week. I love her compositional style, her pragmatic attitude and the fact that she came over to have a nice chat for the show. She's easy going and thoughtful, and I know you'll like the interview as much as I did. Enjoy!

Episode 29: Michael Nielsen

Mon Aug 08 2016 (51:40)

Composer/producer Michael Nielsen is my guest thi…

Composer/producer Michael Nielsen is my guest this week. He's a founding partner of Ninja Tracks, the premier creators of film trailer and video game music. I guarantee you've heard a lot of their stuff, if you like going to the movies. Or maybe you've seen his YouTube or Facebook channel, Big Hairy Guitars? Michael is a sensitive and very nice fellow, and I'm happy to call he and his partners Kaveh and Collin, friends. I hope you enjoy our chat, and thanks for tuning in!

Episode 28: Christopher Job

Tue Aug 02 2016 (51:17)

Chris and I go way back to Cal State Fullerton. H…

Chris and I go way back to Cal State Fullerton. He's carved out a nice career for himself as a bass-baritone, singing all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. I hadn't seen him for over a decade, and it was great catching up over our chat. He's a thoughtful guy- hard working, talented and a real rising star, so look out for him! Enjoy!

Episode 27: Tim Campbell

Mon Jul 25 2016 (48:57)

Tim Campbell is an audio book narrator, working s…

Tim Campbell is an audio book narrator, working singer, editor, studio engineer, and all-around nice guy. He's narrated a ton of books in all different genres, using accents and the whole bit. Please check him out at www.timcampbell.me- his sample readings are amazing! I learned a lot about the narration business and I found our talk really informative and fascinating- I hope you do to!

Episode 26: Shawn Kirchner

Mon Jul 18 2016 (01:24:05)

Composer, pianist, vocalist and peace-lover, Shaw…

Composer, pianist, vocalist and peace-lover, Shawn Kirchner is my guest this week. I had a great time getting to know Shawn over the course of our chat and as it goes sometimes, I feel like we left a lot of subjects untouched. Also, I made a couple flubs that I'll fess up to right now- first, I think I said that 'Memorare' was premiered in 2015, when in fact, it was not. Also, I guessed Rumi where the quote was from S.T. Coleridge. So, there. Listen, I do great on those Facebook quizzes, so I'm ...

Episode 25: Edie Lehmann Boddicker

Mon Jul 11 2016 (01:06:33)

I'm thrilled to have as my 25th guest, Edie Lehma…

I'm thrilled to have as my 25th guest, Edie Lehmann Boddicker. Most of us around town know her as a vocal contractor, but there is definitely more than meets the eye. She's had an amazing career here in tinseltown- from concertizing as a classical pianist and learning music theory from Morten Lauridsen, singing and contracting Academy Award nominated soundtracks, to being a regular cast member on General Hospital. There's a lot in between, too. I really like Edie, and I like her even more after ...

Episode 24: Nicholas C. Pappas

Mon Jul 04 2016 (01:25:01)

Nicholas C. Pappas is a director, dramaturge and …

Nicholas C. Pappas is a director, dramaturge and Heideman Award-winning playwright. His plays include The Ballad of 423 and 424, Fatty, Including Shooter, and The Dreams in Which I'm Dying. Nick is a thoughtful, bright guy who I'm glad to know, and I wouldn't be surprised if we collaborated again in the future. Thanks for being on the show, buddy!

Episode 23: Grant Gershon

Thu Jun 30 2016 (01:02:11)

Mo. Grant Gershon is my guest this week. He's an …

Mo. Grant Gershon is my guest this week. He's an amazing pianist, conductor and colleague. He holds the titles of Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Resident Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. Our conversation whizzed by and I was left with a ton of questions I didn't have the time to ask- hopefully we'll have time for a "shorty" follow-up interview in the future. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the interview and thanks for listening!

Episode 22: Peabody Southwell

Mon Jun 20 2016 (01:08:04)

Peabody is a globally recognized mezzo-soprano an…

Peabody is a globally recognized mezzo-soprano and burgeoning set and costume designer. She has a strong personality, strong opinions and highly formed ideas about her work, and the worlds she inhabits. I've known her for years and I find her fascinating- She's basically a female version of me, but taller, smarter and with a deeper voice. Enjoy!

Episode 21: Robert Thies

Mon Jun 13 2016 (01:26:57)

Robert Thies has been a friend of mine for about …

Robert Thies has been a friend of mine for about ten years or so. We see each other around town and the last time we worked together was on Happy Feet 2, with John Powell. Rob is a tremendous pianist with a great career. He won the Prokofiev competition, plays with the Phil and with many ensembles around town. He's a Steinway Artist, session player... and on and on. Rob is also just a plain old good guy, and I'm glad to be his friend. Thanks for listening and I hope you end up liking this guy as ...

Episode 20: Blair Tindall

Tue Jun 07 2016 (01:14:22)

Author Blair Tindall is my guest this week. You m…

Author Blair Tindall is my guest this week. You may know her from her controversial 2005 book, "Mozart in the Jungle", or the hit Amazon series of the same name, created by Jason Schwartzman and starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Blair has had a stellar career as a classical musician, playing oboe for the NY Philharmonic, for hit shows on broadway, and as a session player for film and television. There's also been a lot of commotion over Blair's tell-all book about life in the classical world, and she ...

Episode 19: Carla Jimenez

Tue May 31 2016 (42:00)

Carla Jimenez is a working actress in Los Angeles…

Carla Jimenez is a working actress in Los Angeles. You may have seen her in films such as, Lady in the Water, Nacho Libre and Accepted, and in the television shows Lincoln Heights, My Name is Earl and Desperate Housewives, and currently on Raising Hope and Last Man Standing. She's had a long career in film and television, and supports herself solely as an actress, which is no easy feat. She's insightful, fun, and hard working and I was grateful to hear her story! Enjoy!

Episode 18: Jamie Chamberlin

Mon May 23 2016 (01:01:32)

The lovely and talented soprano, Jamie Chamberlin…

The lovely and talented soprano, Jamie Chamberlin is my guest on this episode. Jamie is a very successful working singer here in LA, singing with the Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera and in recordings such as Mark Abel's new opera, "Home Is a Harbor". She's lively, funny, hard-working and vivacious, and she's one of my favorite people. Enjoy!

Episode 17: Lesley Leighton

Mon May 16 2016 (01:22:11)

Lesley Leighton is the Associate Conductor for th…

Lesley Leighton is the Associate Conductor for the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Artistic Director of the Los Robles Master Chorale. She is also a certified chef and a former member of Michael Bloomberg's inner circle, during his mayorship of NYC. Lesley is interesting, candid and a nice lady to spend an hour with. I hope you enjoy our chat- Thanks for listening!

Episode 16: Kaveh Cohen

Mon May 09 2016 (57:53)

Founding partner of Ninja Tracks, Kaveh Cohen sit…

Founding partner of Ninja Tracks, Kaveh Cohen sits down with me to discuss composition, the business of music and the cognoscenti class. Having known Kaveh for quite some time, I was excited to hear some new insights about his process, background and his time behind the counter at Guitar Center- maybe he was saving it up for the podcast. Noticing I've started each of these sentences with a gerund is fun, too- hoping you enjoy this episode, am I.

Episode 15: Leila Charles Leigh

Wed May 04 2016 (01:03:25)

Leila Charles Leigh and I talk a lot about juggli…

Leila Charles Leigh and I talk a lot about juggling kids with work, and where the two intersect. For me, it's a reminder that I'm not alone in dealing with disappointment and the trap of myopic perspective where success and failure are concerned. Leila is charming and sparkly, and it was great catching up with her. Thanks for listening- enjoy!

Episode 14: Trevore Ross

Thu Apr 28 2016 (01:04:21)

Stage director Trevore Ross came by the studio to…

Stage director Trevore Ross came by the studio today. We talked about growing up in South Carolina and his journey from pianist to stage director and how he settled in Los Angeles. He offers up poignant ideas about life, love and work, and I really found this interview to be easy. Trevore is a good talker, and I’d love to have him back on the show in the future. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy our chat!

Episode 13: Jeff Beal

Thu Apr 28 2016 (51:23)

Composer Jeff Beal is widely known for his work o…

Composer Jeff Beal is widely known for his work on such films as Blackfish, Appaloosa, and Pollock, and for his work in television- Monk, Carnivàle, Rome, and the current HBO hit, House Of Cards. Jeff is a generous, magnanimous fellow, and one hell of a great musician and composer. He records his work in the living room of his expansive, comfortable, tuscan-style villa in Agoura Hills, and mixes/masters/delivers it all from home. It’s a pretty sweet setup. Jeff is also scheduling more live perfo ...

Episode 12: Bradon McDonald

Thu Apr 28 2016 (01:08:17)

On this episode, I interview Bradon McDonald of P…

On this episode, I interview Bradon McDonald of Project Runway fame. We also discuss his time with the Mark Morris Dance Group, growing up in a crowded house, getting out of a small town to eventually become one of the country’s premier dancers and fashion designers. Our chat is a study in passion, perseverance and dedication- things that I wish I had more of , at least compared to Bradon. My thanks goes out to Josh Winograde for facilitating our meeting- enjoy!

Episode 11: Christopher Allen

Thu Apr 28 2016 (01:15:08)

Conductor Christopher Allen became a friend of mi…

Conductor Christopher Allen became a friend of mine through this interview, I can safely say. It’s one of the best things about this podcast for me- meeting people I connect with. Despite my outgoing personality, I’m prone to melancholy and sometimes, meeting people can be hard. Anyway, Chris offers a lot of insight into the behind-the-scenes part of classical music, and I hope you like hearing it as much as I liked producing it. Thanks for listening!

Episode 10: Georgia Stitt

Thu Apr 28 2016 (01:05:37)

Pianist, composer, arranger, orchestrator and fri…

Pianist, composer, arranger, orchestrator and friend: Georgia Stitt. What can I say- she does it all. Oh, and she juggles a busy home life with Jason Robert Brown and their two beautiful daughters- I swear, my guests usually give me a deep, lingering inferiority complex, but whatever. Georgia is a delight, and I’m so flattered she decided to come over for some lemonade and a chat- Enjoy!

Episode 9: Joshua Winograde

Thu Apr 28 2016 (52:16)

Joshua Winograde is the Senior Director of Artist…

Joshua Winograde is the Senior Director of Artistic Planning at the Los Angeles Opera. In other words, he helps decide (along with Christopher Koelsch, Placido Domingo and James Conlon) on the singers who get hired to sing at the LA Opera. I had a real interest in sitting down with Josh, particularly because after 25+ years as a classical singer, I’ve never really known how things work behind the scenes at a major opera company- I bet you don’t, either. I hope you find what Josh had to say as in ...

Episode 8: Adriana Manfredi

Thu Apr 28 2016 (59:12)

Adriana Manfredi is a great friend of mine from L…

Adriana Manfredi is a great friend of mine from Los Angeles. She sings all over the place- LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, Long Beach Camerata… and I guarantee you’ve heard her voice on your favorite movies. The interview itself is a departure from any interview style in that it is truly a conversation between friends. You may find it interesting if you grew up in Costa Mesa, Newport or Irvine, or had an affinity for Lion Country Safari, I guess. Anyway, it’s a bonus, so cut me some slack.

Episode 7: Charles Anthony Silvestri

Mon Apr 25 2016 (43:06)

Polymath Charles Anthony Silvestri is a poet, his…

Polymath Charles Anthony Silvestri is a poet, historian, professor and painter. Oh, and he plays and dances traditional Irish music. And he has a PHD. I honestly don’t know what he’s doing hanging out with the likes of me, but I’m sure glad I have him fooled, somehow. Tony is a wonderful guy, too, and I was honored to chat with him. I greatly admire his fortitude, candor, and humor, and I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Episode 6: Robert Istad

Fri Apr 15 2016 (53:14)

Robert (Rob) Istad is one of my favorite folks. W…

Robert (Rob) Istad is one of my favorite folks. We were housemates in college… I can still remember his audition at CSUF, and boy, has he come up the ranks. He is the current head of choral studies at Cal State Fullerton, Artistic Director of the Long Beach Camerata Singers, and soon-to-be Artistic Director of the venerable Pacific Chorale. All that being said, as you’ll hear in my intro, I wanted to hear stories. Stories that have nothing to do with his life in music, but the stories that split ...

Episode 5: John Holiday

Thu Apr 07 2016 (38:15)

Like many of my guests, I met John Holiday at LA …

Like many of my guests, I met John Holiday at LA Opera. We happened to be staged together, and every night we’d exchange pleasantries before the curtain rose. We hit it off and managed to keep in touch here and there, mostly through Facebook. I greatly admire his talent, work ethic and attitude, but mostly, he’s an easygoing and very decent human being. Enjoy.

Episode 4: Hila Plitmann

Mon Apr 04 2016 (37:54)

Hila Plitmann is a Grammy award-winning soprano, …

Hila Plitmann is a Grammy award-winning soprano, and one of my closest friends. Full disclosure: she’s married to Eric Whitacre, who is also one of my closest friends. She and I have a lot in common, but she’s just a lot more interesting. A great thinker, shrouded in modesty- she’s truly one-of-a-kind, as far as I’m concerned. I hope you enjoy our chat, because I’m sure there are many more to come.

Episode 3: Ben Bliss

Mon Mar 28 2016 (01:02:10)

What can I say, I messaged Ben about being on thi…

What can I say, I messaged Ben about being on this brand-new, nothing-yet podcast and he basically came right over. That’s the kind of guy he is. A supportive colleague, funny, kind and an amazingly hard-working and talented guy. That’s Ben Bliss, and I was so happy to get the chance to chat and get to know this fine, gentleman-singer.

Episode 2: Eric Whitacre

Mon Mar 21 2016 (57:51)

Eric Whitacre is one of my oldest friends, so wh…

Eric Whitacre is one of my oldest friends, so why not give it a shot with him early on? It was his idea, anyway. All the things you hear about him are true- he’s a sweet guy, for real. He’s super-smart, interesting, funny, candid and an extraordinarily considerate friend. And handsome. Eric is really, really fucking handsome. I suspect he’ll be a returning guest, especially if it’s an excuse for us to hang out in the middle of the day again.

For my pilot episode, I picked James Martin Schae…

For my pilot episode, I picked James Martin Schaefer. I’ve known Marty for twenty years and we’ve been through a lot together. We both perform regularly at the Los Angeles Opera Company as soloists and choristers. This was my first-ever in preparation for this podcast series, so it’s weird and sometimes not-so-great. I’m posting it anyway.