Jenny Wong Named Interim Artistic Director and Conductor at GMCLA

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) today announced that Jenny Wong will serve as interim artistic director and conductor beginning in September and will conduct the upcoming concerts in December.

Jenny Wong

Wong, a two-time international choral champion, is the associate conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, a post she has held since 2017 after first becoming assistant conductor in 2016. She made her solo conducting debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall leading the Master Chorale in six Bach Motets BWV 225-230, and has conducted on the Master Chorale’s various programs, including the premiere of Moira Smiley’s five-movement “Time in Our Voices.”

“I am delighted that Jenny Wong has agreed to join us this fall and lead us through the holiday concerts,” said Lou Spisto, executive director of GMCLA, whose headquarters is in West Hollywood. “She is well known to the entire choral community here in Southern California, nationally, and internationally, as an inspiring musician, leader, and creative force. The members of GMCLA are looking forward to her direction and vision for us in the coming months as we conduct our search for the next permanent musical leader.”

Gavin Thrasher, who has served for five years as assistant conductor, is leaving his position as interim artistic director at GMCLA to move to New York City.

“Gavin Thrasher will conduct our gala concert on August 16 at Walt Disney Concert Hall before he joins the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus,” Spisto said. “Gavin will be missed by GMCLA. He is an incredible musician, teacher and friend. Gavin raised the bar for us musically and we are deeply grateful for his five years of service as assistant conductor and interim artistic director.”

Tickets for GMCLA’s upcoming concert “GMCLA 40 / STONEWALL 50,” at Walt Disney Concert Hall are available online. The concert will celebrate the chorus’s 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The evening will feature over 500 singers as GMCLA’s 270 members will be joined by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and others from around the country to perform the Los Angeles premiere of “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall.” This original work, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, was co-commissioned by GMCLA and NYCGMC. Last month, both choruses performed “Quiet No More” together at Carnegie Hall and received a standing ovation from the sold-out house.

In the coming season, Wong will conduct the Master Chorale in performances on March 28 and 29 of Faure’s Requiem, Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, and Roxanna Panufnik’s Zen Love Song. As associate conductor of the Master Chorale, she has conducted performances of the Master Chorale’s touring production of Lagrime di San Pietro, and has prepared choruses for Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki, Eric Whitacre, María Guinand, and Music Academy of the West, including the U.S. premiere of Tan Dun’s Buddha Passion, and the L.A. Philharmonic’s first performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Recently, Wong conducted the L.A. Master Chorale in performances of Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro, staged by Peter Sellars, at the Melbourne International Arts Festival in Melbourne, Australia, the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Mexico, at Carolina Performing Arts at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Wong also conducted Grammy-winning ensemble Phoenix Chorale in Phoenix, Ariz., as a finalist candidate for their Artistic Director position.

A native of Hong Kong, Jenny Wong was one of the youngest conductors to win two consecutive World Champion titles at the World Choir Games (China, 2010) and the International Johannes Brahms Choral Competition (Germany, 2011), conducting the Diocesan Girls’ School Choir from Hong Kong. Wong has conducted and performed in Germany, Austria, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, China and across the United States.


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Duran must go
Guest
Duran must go

Congrats to Ms. Wong as you lead this astounding group of men in their next years. You are immensely qualified and your tenure at the Master Chorale has been masterful. Sorry to see Gavin leave, as we his is beyond talented but all good things must come to an end. Please ignore all the negative comments from men.

Observer
Guest
Observer

I guess GMCLA will have to change their name, as it’s no longer being conducted by a man.

Peter
Guest
Peter

GMCLA has had straight members in the past, and never changed its name.

Jim Nasium
Guest
Jim Nasium

Pretty soon GMCLA will become GLBTQCLA. Just watch.

Peter
Guest
Peter

The San Francisco GMC had a female AD for ten years, but somehow never felt forced to change its name. Or its male-only singing membership.

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

How fabulous that we live in a world where a woman can take the helm of an arts organization like this.

Duran must go
Guest
Duran must go

wouldn’t it be nicer if there were more congratulatory comments than negative nellies. Alas, it is weho and some things just never change.

Bill Gordon
Guest
Bill Gordon

I guess everyone’s entitled to maintain their identity except gay men.

Duran must go
Guest
Duran must go

What is the point of this? She isn’t signing in the chorus! You know we, women, have a lot to deal with when it comes to fragile ego straight men but it pales in comparison to gay men!