Newton Symphony Orchestra

Pre-concert Lecturer: Steven Ledbetter

Steven Ledbetter is a scholar, writer, lecturer, and conductor who served as Musicologist and Program Annotator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1998. In addition to writing for many orchestras, chamber ensembles, and other musical institutions throughout the United States, he has written the booklet notes for nearly 200 recordings. As a scholar, his research specialties include the 16th-century Italian madrigalist Luca Marenzio, music of the turn-of-the-century New England romantic composers (particularly George W. Chadwick), and musical theater (particularly Gilbert and Sullivan and American operetta traditions from Victor Herbert on).

After earning the B.A. in music from Pomona College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology at New York University, he served on the faculties of NYU and Dartmouth before joining the Boston Symphony, and has taught at Harvard and the Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College. He has conducted choral ensembles and orchestras at Dartmouth College and Providence College and sang in the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Festival Chorus for more than 15 years.

He is co-editor of the secular works of Luca Marenzio and an editor of the complete operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (both multi-volume editions in progress from Broude Brothers Limited). He has produced recordings of chamber music by Boston composers for Northeastern Records, including the complete string quartets of Chadwick and works by John K. Paine, Arthur Foote, and Amy Beach. In 1988 he edited Sennets & Tuckets, a book of essays about Leonard Bernstein, for Bernstein's 70th birthday celebration at Tanglewood. For the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, he was the area editor for pre-1918 American opera. In 1991 his BSO program notes received an ASCAP/Deems Taylor award for "distinguished print and media coverage of music." He has contributed booklet notes to more than 200 recordings.

After nearly twenty years on the staff of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he created his own service, Steven Ledbetter Program Notes, in 1998, and now writes notes for orchestras and other ensembles from Boston to Florida to California and for concert venues like Carnegie Hall. He is in great demand as a lecturer on all periods of classical music as well as the musical theater for many organizations, both in the Boston area and farther afield.

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