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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
From Murphy Hall
Living La Vida 'Lorca'
Stress Fractures
What's at Stake
The Importance of Being Elma
House of Cards
The Quest
Through Women's Eyes
Dynamic Duo
Bruin Walk

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Spring 2005
Living La Vida 'Lorca'

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IN THE SUMMER OF 2003, Krouse “awoke with a sudden fire in my belly to finish the piece and produce it.” A year earlier, his best friend, the Falla guitarist Graves, died of a sudden heart attack at age 48. “I thought, that could happen to me, and if it does, Lorca will not be finished. It will be useless.”

In the coming months, “a quasi-obsessive, creative explosion to get this to happen” seized Krouse. With the score not yet orchestrated — or even finished — he returned to his piano and pounded on the keys with such ferocity that tendon problems returned to the thumb and pinky of his right hand.

As department chair, Krouse would not have time to conduct Lorca himself, but he knew who he wanted to take his place. A Los Angeles native, Jonathan Stockhammer lives in Berlin and works mostly in Europe, where he is known especially as a conductor of new music. (Last September, he conducted a 26-piece orchestra that performed at Trafalgar Square for a new soundtrack by the British pop duo the Pet Shop Boys to the 1925 silent movie, Battleship Potemkin.) Stockhammer grew up in a musical family — his father, David Stockhammer, is a violist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. When he started studying with Krouse, he was hardly anyone’s idea of a future symphony conductor. “I was a little phobic, nervous. I talked quickly. I didn’t have the kind of projection of my ideas and personality that is essential for a conductor to have,” Stockhammer says. Krouse saw past the oddities and detected in his young protégé the mental agility and temperament of a great conductor.

Stockhammer, 35, meets with the orchestra for the first time on February 9. Only five weeks remain until the curtain rises on Lorca, not nearly enough time to get the musicians in shape. On a blustery evening, Stockhammer is in his office on the second floor of Schoenberg Music Building, talking about the challenges that lie ahead. Reminded of the few days that remain until opening night, Stockhammer rises silently from his chair and walks to a rain-splattered window. “Excuse me. I’m going to jump. You know the way out.”

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