Contact: Allison Griffin
Public Relations Associate

September 26, 2007



Portland, Ore. … Celebrating your 90th birthday before a crowd of 3,000? No sweat, says Norman Leyden.

The Oregon Symphony Laureate Associate Conductor returns to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with his signature clarinet for a special one-night-only appearance on October 17 at 7:30 p.m., marking the first time Leyden has performed at the concert hall since March 2004. The concert is generously sponsored by Citi Smith Barney. Additional support is provided by 1190 KEX NewsRadio.

Leyden retired in 2004 after 34 seasons as Music Director of the Symphony’s Pops Series and 29 seasons as Associate Conductor. In 1970 he initiated the Symphony’s Pops series, one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation.

The guest list for the concert includes soloists Renee Cleland and Rod Lucich. Cleland was a member of the Leyden Singers for 15 years, performing both with the Oregon Symphony Pops and the Seattle Symphony Pops.  Leyden became a mentor during those years as he shared his love of big band music with her.  Lucich performed with the Leyden Singers for 12 seasons and has been featured as guest soloist with many of the country’s orchestras in pops performance.  He has been a popular guest for several years during the Summer Classics Series with the Minnesota Orchestra Pops, as well as repeat performances with the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and the Long Beach Symphony.

During WWII, Leyden became an arranger for Miller’s renowned Air Force Band in Europe.  When the Glenn Miller Orchestra was reorganized in 1946, Leyden became its chief arranger. The upcoming program will feature several of the artist’s most famous hits, including “A String of Pearls,” “In The Mood,” and “Pennsylvania 6 – 5000.” Other big band hits, like Ella Fitzgerald’s “’S Wonderful” and Nat “King” Cole’s “Unforgettable” will also be on the program, among many others.

A big band featuring a saxophone quintet, trumpet and trombone quartet will accompany Leyden and the soloists.

The program will also include Cleland’s daughter, 14-year-old Aubrey Cleland, a seasoned performer, who first shared the stage with Leyden at his request when she was just 10 years old. Hailey Niswager, a student of Leyden’s, will also be performing.

In addition, the student dancers from Dance West, under the direction and choreography of Julane Stites, will add their swinging moves to several show-stopping numbers.  Dance West, a specialized program housed at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, (ACMA), in Beaverton School District, is a pre-professional training ground for students who desire in-depth technical study and performance experience.

In over 60 years as a professional musician, Norman Leyden has conducted, arranged, composed and played music of every kind in both the classical and popular fields. A graduate of Yale University in 1938, he later earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Columbia University, where he also taught for several years.

Please note that the Oregon Symphony does not perform.

Tickets start at $20 and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, located at 923 S.W. Washington.  Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased anytime online at or charged by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available through the group sales hotline at (503) 416-6380. 

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