Larry Livingston
Photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts Foundation

Ransom Wilson is back at orchestra

Idyllwild Arts’ legendary Summer Orchestra Director Larry Livingston is departing after more than 30 years. During Livingston’s tenure with Idyllwild Arts, he consistently received glowing reviews and dramatically enhanced the artistic reputation of Idyllwild Arts around the globe. 

This year’s 2019 August Summer Culmination Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall will be the last Livingston conducts, and the performance will be in dedication to him, featuring more than 100 talented young people from High School Summer Chamber Festival Orchestra and Festival Choir of Idyllwild Arts who get the incredible opportunity to perform at the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

Livingston guided the relaunching of the Summer Festival Orchestras three decades ago, after Idyllwild Arts gained its independence from the University of Southern California. 

He helped build the summer orchestral program from a small ensemble of local high school students and faculty in 1988, to one of the finest youth orchestras in the United States, with an international reputation that now attracts students from around the world. 

Ransom Wilson
Photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts Foundation

While Livingston’s departure certainly marks the end of a tremendous era for IA, it also signals the beginning of an exciting new era in which the Summer Program and Academy will become more closely integrated. 

In the fall, Idyllwild Arts Foundation will welcome famed maestro Ransom Wilson as director of Orchestral Programs, and Gregory Robbins as associate conductor, to conduct the year-round orchestral programs and to build on the prestige and prominence Livingston helped create. 

Wilson is a world-renowned flutist, recording artist, chamber musician and conductor who is currently music director and conductor of The Redlands Symphony and has an ongoing professorship at Yale University School of Music. 

Wilson’s new position with IA is something of a homecoming; he conducted part-time at the school some 10 years ago. These new, year-round orchestral programs will further uplift talented student musicians and give students participating in the Summer Program “a taste” of life at the regular Academy.