Performing Faculty, cello
Email Roger Lebow
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 (2012-2013 improbably marks their 28th season), with the 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. Mr. Lebow was also the 4th cellist from the right, in the back near the cimbasso and string basses, on the soundtrack of your favorite movie, and spelunking pop enthusiasts can hear him on albums by such period acts as ELO, Kim Carnes and Alanis Morissette.
Mr. Lebow is also on the faculty of Chapman University and the Claremont Graduate University. 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.
Roger 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 premiere, with the LA Mozart Orchestra, of a 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 premieres. He has chamber recordings on the Delos, New World, Water Lily Acoustics, Spectral Harmonies, and Albany labels. As is curiously so often the case with avant-gardistes, Roger is also an ardent player, on baroque cello and viola da gamba, of early music.
Back in what it pleases the kids to call "The Day," Mr. Lebow 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 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 an operatic tenor based in New York City.