(2016 - ) Michael Christ Powers
A native Californian, Michael Christ Powers is an ambassador and advocate for music and its transformative and uplifting power in the lives of all people. As a professional musician, talented educator and inspiring conductor he has dedicated his career to connecting to students, musicians and audiences through the medium of music. For Michael, Los Angeles proves itself to be a catalyst and center for art in all its forms, and continues to be a daily inspiration for his work and life as an Angeleno.
Michael has been an ambassador and advocate of music in his community through his collaborations with the USC Thornton School of Music, The Juilliard School MAP Orchestra, Crossroads School of the Arts, Harmony Project, Los Angeles City College, Pasadena City College, American Youth Symphony, The Colburn School, YMF Debut Orchestra and many others.
Michael has led concerts in three continents with ensembles including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Manhattan Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, North Shore Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia. He is in demand as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, private teacher and lecturer.
Outside of the realm of conducting and teaching, Michael enjoys running on the roads and trails of Griffith Park and to occasionally frustrate himself with a round of golf. Together with his wife, opera singer Katherine Giaquinto Powers, he also explores the many and fascinating neighborhoods of LA and their excellent restaurants, museums, culture and architecture.
“…born to conduct. He has deep insights to each and every composition from all perspectives; historically, musically, professionally and technically… Powers has a special gift of creation, a unique and true version of each and every piece played. He bends, molds, shapes each one as a master weaver of tapestry. And transforms hum drum portrayals into pieces you shall never ever forget.”
-Gary Fitelberg, Music historian and critic
(2012 - 2015) Dr. A. Phoenix Delgado
Our most recent Music Director has been Dr. A. Phoenix Delgado, with whom we were pleased to work from 2012 through 2015.
An Interlochen Center for the Arts Academy alum, former soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 21 and one of People Magazine’s “Heroes Among Us,” Phoenix received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California (USC) in flute/vocal performance and orchestral conducting, respectively.
Phoenix served as an Assistant Dean for the USC Thornton School of Music while simultaneously pursuing his Doctoral of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in flute performance, with elective fields in conducting, theory & analysis, and executive leadership. Prior to this, he served as the first Executive Director for The Harmony Project, a non-profit organization that continues to offer music education to underserved children. He was instrumental in the development and growth of this organization during his four years as Executive Director, attracting national media attention. After stepping down to pursue his position at USC, he remained involved as Music Director & Conductor.
Phoenix is the founder of Harmony Project’s Summer Festival Orchestras, the Harmony Project Orchestra, and the Hollywood Youth Orchestra. Furthermore, he formed the LA Philharmonic’s EXPO Center Youth Orchestra which has been conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl as part of Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Recently the Harmony Project was presented with the Coming Up Taller Award, the nation’s highest honor for humanities programs, at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama. As a result of his involvement in the non-profit sector, he is sought out as a motivational speaker and independent consultant to facilitate strategic planning by grassroots organizations.
His conducting resume boasts serving as guest conductor for the Chamber Ensemble of Rome, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Golden State Pops Orchestra, and Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. One time engagements have included leading the orchestra at the 2005 Grammy's Salute to Classical Music honoring Esa-Pekka Salonen, conducting the orchestra for Merv Griffin's memorial service, appearing with the USC Thornton Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and serving as Assistant Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony, as well as Michael Tilson Thomas at Disney Hall. In addition to his principal flute work with the Golden State Pops Orchestra, Phoenix served as GSPO’s Resident Guest Conductor.
(2007 - 2011) Armen Garabedian
Armen Garabedian served as the NVSO’s Music Director from 2007 until his passing in 2011. Armen’s musical ability and dynamic personality brought new energy, focus and skills to the group, from both the musicians’ and audiences’ point of view.
Armen took up the violin at age six. He studied at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School. Later he studied at the Yerevan State Conservatory while playing in the Radio and TV Ensemble of Violinists as well as with the Yerevan State Philharmonic Orchestra. Arriving in the U.S. in 1974, Armen won First Prize in the Allied Arts Competition in Los Angeles. Armen then took up the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and taught violin and chamber music at the University of Hawaii and Punahou Music School.
He performed in several local orchestras including the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Opera Pacific, and performed on many major motion picture recordings and sound tracks.
The fact that Armen, in spite of having serious medical problems, gave us the gift of his skills as late as his final concert on April 10, 2011 was illustrative of his dedication.
(2003 - 2007) Co-Conductors Bethany Pflueger and Michael Avedissian
- Bethany Pflueger is Professor of Music at Glendale College, where she teaches music theory, chamber music, applied flute, coordinates the Applied Music program, and is the conductor of the Glendale College Community Orchestra. She currently serves as Music Department Chair.
Ms. Pflueger is principal flutist of the Burbank and Peninsula Symphonies and is an active free lance performer on flute and piccolo with regional orchestras and chamber music groups. She is the recipient of a 2005 Grammy Award for her recorded piccolo performance as a member of the Southwest Chamber Music ensemble.
- Michael Avedissian received his Masters degree in Music from Yerevan State Conservatory in Armenia and his Doctorate degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He served as a guest conductor with the USSR National Symphony Orchestra and a number of other European orchestras. He has recorded with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and has taught conducting, piano and music theory at the International School of Music in Glendale, California.
(1968 - 2003) Jim Swift
James A. (“Jim”) Swift, who founded our predecessor organization in 1968, was awarded engineering and music degrees from the University of Minnesota. He came to the San Fernando Valley in 1950 and served as conductor of the San Fernando Symphony beginning in 1953. Jim founded the Los Angeles Solo Repertory Orchestra in 1968, which became the New Valley Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s. Jim was three times selected to participate in the American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Institute. Jim was also a skilled violinist, having taken up the violin at age eight. Jim passed away in November 2005. He is missed!