Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         CONTACT: Kerrie Sadler
June 23, 2014                                                                          (805) 497-5837
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League of American Orchestras Honors Conductor
Marcelo Lehninger with Helen M. Thompson Award

Thousand Oaks, CA – The League of American Orchestras presented Marcelo Lehninger, Music Director of the New West Symphony and Associate Conductor, Boston Symphony Orchestra, with the Helen M. Thompson Award today at its National Conference in Seattle.

Marcelo Lehninger was selected for his artistic excellence, exceptional musical leadership, and commitment to organizational vitality. The award recognizes a music director in an early career stage who works with a smaller-budget orchestra in the U.S./Canada.

"Having had the opportunity to see Marcelo Lehninger at work, I experienced first-hand the talent and musical leadership that have earned him the Helen M. Thompson Award," said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. "We're pleased to be able to continue bestowing this important award, just as we support the many other professional development activities for conductors, composers, managers, and others working in orchestras today.

"I nominated Marcelo Lehninger for this award on behalf of our entire organization for his keen knowledge of the classical repertoire and an innate musicality that is recognized and respected by our professional musicians," said New West Symphony Executive Director Natalia Staneva. "He connects with our patrons, donors, and the community-at-large in meaningful and effective ways.  We are so proud of Marcelo and thank the League of American Orchestras for this immense honor and recognition."

"I am very honored to receive the Helen Thompson Award for emerging music directors. The award brings New West Symphony to a greater level of recognition in the musical industry.  I share the award with all of you, friends and supporters of our amazing orchestra!" 

The Helen M. Thompson Award is given by the League to orchestra managers and music directors in alternate years.  The award was created in 1981 to celebrate the life and work of Helen M. Thompson, who dramatically advanced and promoted the cause of the symphony orchestra in the United States.  Beginning in 1943, her 27 years of inspired leadership and service to the League encouraged smaller-budget orchestras to develop high standards and to serve their communities well.  The award particularly recognizes her support and encouragement of managers and music directors early in their careers.  Eligible nominees must hold the top managerial or music director position at a League of American Orchestras member orchestra with no more than five years combined experience in a top position.  A panel of music professionals selects the winner. Previous winners include Mei-Ann Chen (2012) and Joana Carneiro (2010).

Brazilian-born Marcelo Lehninger is recognized as one of the most gifted conductors of his generation, inspiring musicians and audiences alike. Appointed music director of the New West Symphony in 2012, he has led the Symphony in clarifying its artistic goals and creating new programming initiatives, helping to not only further its reputation as a first-class orchestra but to also position it as a community hub for classical music and artistic engagement.

Founded in 1995, the New West Symphony is a professional orchestra that draws its players from the rich talent pool of professional Los Angeles-area musicians. Led by music director Marcelo Lehninger, the Symphony is the resident company of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and Barnum Hall in Santa Monica.  It presents six Masterpiece Series concerts annually, performing major works from the symphonic repertoire with internationally-acclaimed artists as guest soloists.  The Symphony also provides quality outreach and educational opportunities for the communities it serves through its annual Symphonic Adventures concert programs for youth, its traveling Music Van, and its partnership with New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura County, a year-round music and leadership program for underserved students. Visit

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America's orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of approximately 800 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement for managers, musicians, volunteers, and boards. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform music lovers around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit