Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Justin Pressman and I am the new development assistant at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Here is a little bit about myself and my favorite things:
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, OH (suburb of Cleveland)
Parents: Brad (Doctor) & Karen (Nurse)
First musical memory: The first time I heard a live symphony orchestra I was ten years old and my grandmother had taken me to see Tchaikovsky’s iconic ballet, The Nutcracker. The sheer beauty and power of the full orchestra in perfect synchronization with Tchaikovsky’s lush, romantic score hypnotized me. At intermission, I ran down to gaze into the orchestra pit. It was love at first sight. From that moment on I knew I wanted to be a classical musician.
Instruments: Trumpet (began at age 10, 12 total years of playing), piano (8 years)
Most memorable performances I’ve performed in:Contemporary Youth Orchestra with the rock band, Styx; a performance with Luis Fonsi on Univision’s Premios Juventud in 2011; performing Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castlewith Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony.
Career goals: I aspire to be a mover-and-shaker in arts administration helping orchestras and opera companies face the challenges of 21st century through embracing technology and multimedia, innovative programming and concert formats, strong education and community engagement initiatives and striving for vibrancy and relevance to make arts organizations indispensable in their communities.
Favorite composer: Tchaikovsky (Verdi close second)
Favorite piece of music: John Adams’ “Chairman Dances”
Favorite operas: Strauss’s Salome, Tchaikovsky’sQueen of Spades, Verdi’s Otello, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West
Favorite musicians: Maria Callas, Mario del Monaco, Measha Brueggergosman, Barbara Hannigan
Favorite conductors: Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, James Levine
Favorite Living Composer: John Adams
Musical heroes/mentors: Robert Sullivan, Craig Morris, Andrew Bisantz, Leonid Korchmar, Scott Stinson, Sandi Macdonald, Betsy Mullins
Most inspiring person: My father
Favorite things: The arts! Classical music, opera, ballet/dance, fine art, museums, theater, film, history, roller skating, roller coasters, going to the beach.
Favorite Movies: Metropolis, Indochine, The Spirit, The Artist
Favorite Artists: Antonio Canova, Salvador Dali, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilya Repin, Roy Lichenstein.
Favorite Authors: Great Gatsby/Fitzgerald, Eugene Onegin/Pushkin, on Verdi, Wagner, Puccini/William Berger, Alex Ross, Michael Kaiser
Personal motto: “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Steve Jobs
Guilty pleasure: Chipotle and Cinnabon
Starbucks order: Solo Espresso over ice
Favorite word: Swagger
Favorite sport: rollerskating (old school quads, not in-lines)
Worst fear: going deaf!
Historic person I would like to meet: Serge Diaghilev
Favorite vacation destination: Miami, FL
Favorite possession: 2010 white Mustang
Favorite candy: Sour Patch
Favorite Pet: Tatyanna my pug
Little known fact: My grandma was a child movie star and appeared on Our Gang (better known as The Little Rascals)
More little known facts: I have worked for a roller rink, amusement park [running a wooden roller coaster called the Villain], and hosted a radio show in Miami, FL which presented over 100 operas including a multi-month unprecedented survey of all 28 Giuseppe Verdi operas, the Masterworks Revival Series featuring neglected and obscure operatic works of significant artistic merit, and presented interviews with nationally renowned operatic artists
Best advice I’ve been given: Never turn down an opportunity
My greatest achievement: winning a Fulbright Research Grant to Saint-Petersburg, Russia
LA Bucket list: Besides going to wonderful LACO events . . . the Getty Museum/Villa, exploring the beaches, LA Phil, LA Opera, Piano Sphere Concert Series, monthly art walk