Hometown: Sierra Madre, California, USA
Web site: http://www.music.pomona.edu/faculty/lebow.shtml
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Cellist Roger Lebow has taught at Pomona College since 1993. A familiar figure in Los Angeles's musical landscape, he was for a decade the Principal Cellist of the late and much-lamented LA Mozart Orchestra, though these days you'll most often run into him in recital, with his chamber group Xtet (now in its 21st season), with the Pasadena Symphony, LA Opera and other local groups, or browsing through Vroman's Book Store, where he is a threat to buy something in almost any section, as long as it doesn't have an embossed cover. RL was also the 4th cellist from the right, in the back near the cimbasso and string basses, on the soundtrack of your favorite movie.
Lebow is also on the faculty of Chapman University and the Claremont Graduate University, and has for many summers taught at the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA. Formerly at Occidental College, he has also been on the guest faculty of CalArts, UC Irvine, and UC Bjoerling; and in his dotage regards teaching and other musical intervention as an increasingly central and fulfilling part of his life.
RL has appeared as soloist in such arcana as Heitor Villa-Lobos's Fantasia and the Cello Concerto by Arthur Honegger (as well as standard repertoire by The Usual Dead White Suspects). He gave the première, with the LA Mozart Orchestra, of a new concerto by Byron Adams, which he commissioned. A new-music advocate of too many years' standing, he's also commissioned solos by Leo Smit, Donald Davis, John Steinmetz, Leon Milo, Jean-Pierre Tibi, and David Ocker, and participated in dozens of chamber music premières. He has chamber recordings on the Delos, New World, Water Lily Acoustics, and Albany labels. As is curiously so often the case with avant-gardistes, RL is also an ardent player, on baroque cello and viola da gamba, of early music.
In years past RL was the founding cellist of the Armadillo String Quartet and the Clarion Trio, and he spent several waterlogged years swaddled in Gore-Tex® in Seattle with the Philadelphia String Quartet. He has appeared as soloist and chamber player at the Oregon Bach Festival and Cabrillo Music Festival. Other memorable and printable encounters include string quartet performances on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, his college rock group opening for the Jefferson Airplane in 1967, and participating in an original-pharmacology performance of Terry Riley's In C led by the composer.
Lebow has been a renegade classical music announcer on NPR stations in Santa Monica and Seattle, and still entertains radio dreams. The author of one good poem (and a number of sphincter-clenchingly bad ones), he toils over a hot Macintosh writing program notes and album liner notes (or whatever the hell they’re called these days).
He dwells in a small cottage in Sierra Madre with librarian Wendy Schorr (who clandestinely brings home books with embossed covers for him). Their son Theo is a tenor studying voice at Mannes College of Music in New York City.