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Music Director

Since his first performances at the Los Angeles Music Center
in the early 1970’s, Stephen Piazza has been privileged to share the concert stage with some of the music world’s greatest artists. Placido Domingo, Leontyne Price, Itzhak Perlman, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon and members of the Berlin Philharmonic are among the dozens of musical luminaries with whom Piazza has appeared. In addition to nearly 1,000 performances with the L.A. Opera Orchestra and the L.A. Philharmonic at the Music Center, Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, he has also performed in such internationally acclaimed venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet, Mexico City’s Palacio des Belles Artes, Birmingham’s (U.K.) Sir Adrian Boult Hall, Cologne’s Philharmonie and Luxembourg’s Conservatoire de Musique.  In October 2003 he participated in the nationally televised opening concerts of Frank Gehry’s magnificent Los Angeles landmark, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and in August 2004 he conducted the Idyllwild Festival Wind Ensemble in the first wind band performance in Disney Hall. As a member of the Los Angeles Opera orchestra, he continues to perform with the current array of world-renowned conductors, singers and soloists.

1978 marked the year Piazza began performing with major motion picture, TV, and recording studio orchestras. His clarinet and bass clarinet are featured in such well-known pictures as “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “The Flintstones” and, more recently, “The Soloist” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. He also can be heard on the Sony label in performances of film music by Bernard Hermann, and symphonies and concertos of Lutoslawski and Prokofiev. He has also performed and recorded with such pop music icons as Barry Manilow, Josh Groban, and Barbra Streisand.

For over 35 years, Piazza served on the faculty of Los Angeles Pierce College. In 1983, he became chair of the college’s music department, a position he held for over 30 years. He also established the Los Angeles Pierce College Symphonic Band as the college’s premier performing group and began to build a community–based ensemble that would eventually perform throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg. The Winds have been featured at the world-renowned Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, the College Band Director’s National Conference and the California Band Director’s Conference. They have also been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall and to make a return visit to the Festival des Anchez in La Croix-Valmer, France

During the summers, Maestro Piazza conducts the prestigious Festival Wind Ensemble at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts.  As director of the festival’s wind program for over 20 years, he has helped Idyllwild Arts become one of America’s leading summer music programs and year-round arts academies.

Born in New York City in 1950, Piazza moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1957. He remained in California to earn both his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Southern California.  After studies with such legendary artist/educators as Mitchell Lurie, Ingolf Dahl, and Frederic Fennell, he began his own teaching career - first at California Lutheran College and, two years later, at Los Angeles Pierce College. Steve currently makes his home in the suburban southern California community of Woodland Hills. 

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