The “LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program,” launched in 2010 in collaboration with USC’s Thornton School of Music, enhances the preparedness of strings students for a professional career. Selected Thornton students participate in a mock audition that may lead to an opportunity to perform in the string section of the Orchestra for an upcoming LACO concert. Previous judges have included LACO concertmaster Margaret Batjer and LA Philharmonic principal cello Peter Stumpf, both members of the USC Thornton School faculty. Now in its sixth year, the next mock audition is slated for fall 2017.
Coleman Itzkoff, the 2015-16 season winner, began playing cello at the age of four. Coleman comes from a long line of musicians on both his father’s and mother’s sides. In January 2013, Coleman was invited for a week-long artist residency with NPR’s Performance Today with host Fred Child, recording interviews and a full recital program. He has been prize winner at the Fischoff, Johansen, Blount Slawson and Young Texas Artist Competitions, and has performed solo with numerous orchestras across Ohio, Texas and California. He is currently the principal cellist of the American Youth Symphony Orchestra and a co-principal cellist of the new LA-based conductor-less chamber orchestra, Kaleidoscope.
An avid chamber musician, Coleman has collaborated with distinguished artists such as Midori, John O’Connor, Naoko Tanaka, Mark Peskanov, Michael Kimmelman, Richie Hawley, Cho-Liang Lin, James Dunham, Daniel Heifetz, and Jon Kimura Parker. He has been to festivals around the country, including Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowdoin Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the International Heifetz Institurte, and, most recently, La Jolla SummerFest2014.