New Philharmonic leader helping to create Las Vegas’ cultural identity

Lacey Huszcza, the newly appointed executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, is the type of musician who loves to play but hates to practice.

“Which does not make you a professional musician,” says Huszcza (pronounced Hoosha) with a laugh.

After determining that her French horn likely wouldn’t lead to a career, Huszcza stumbled upon arts administration in her last year at the University of Colorado.

“It was like a lightbulb went off,” says Huszcza about landing a special events and fundraising internship at the Arvada Center of Arts and Humanities. “This is how I get to be involved in the arts and music that I love so much and not have to play scales every day!”

After graduating with a double degree in music and communications, Huszcza moved to Los Angeles.

“I pinpointed Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as the place I wanted to work,” Huszcza says. “And I politely stalked them until they gave me a job.”

In 13 years with the orchestra, Huszcza worked in every department — most recently as associate executive director.

She was recently recognized in Musical America’s “Top 30 Professionals” for her efforts to improve diversity within the orchestra and imbue the community with art and music.

“High arts have a long history of being viewed as, and probably acting as, elitist organizations,” Huszcza explains. “It’s resulted in not embracing all the communities in which we live.”

She launched the LA Orchestra Fellowship, a program that enabled pre-professional musicians of color to perform with the orchestra, get audition training and receive funding to travel to auditions. “It’s teaching everyone how to get to that audition stage,” Huszcza says.

She also headed “Play Me I’m Yours,” a program that scattered 15 pianos around the L.A. area to be played by passers-by.

While she’s only been in Las Vegas one month, she’s excited for opportunities with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the city as a whole. “For me,” she says, “it will start with getting to learn about this community.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Describe an experience with classical music that really moved you?

Lacey Huszcza: I was in college and playing a piece by Messiaen that was totally modern and weird. Messiaen wrote it when he was in Utah, in one of the canyons. The horn piece is called “Interstellar Call” and you play it as if you’re in the canyon. You play it and then you play something else like an echo — like it’s echoing in the canyon. And there are little bird calls. Once you know the story, it makes the music so much more powerful and interesting. That’s when I realized music was more than a pretty something that happens on the stage, but is something that reflects people’s lives and experiences and can connect with people in a different way. Here’s a thing happening in a concert hall and is a little bit esoteric. But it’s an experience that anyone who’s ever hiked in the mountains or canyons can understand.

Do you find Las Vegas’ arts culture different from L.A.’s?

There are a lot of parallels to L.A. 10 to 15 years ago in that it’s an entertainment city. L.A. was always like Hollywood and Valley girl. Here it’s the Strip. Arts and high arts are still pretty new to the community, and I think Las Vegas is still figuring out what it means to its residents and how to include tourists or not. It’s still creating a cultural identity — which I think is really exciting. It’s all here: ballet, the Arts District, the Smith Center — all these groups are coming together and building a community for Las Vegas.

With other venues for performing arts, is it a challenge to make the Las Vegas Philharmonic stand out?

It could be. But I see it as an opportunity. The more cultural activity there is in a city, the more people want to participate in cultural activity. I would love for all the little companies to be part of Las Vegas. I want to collaborate with local artists to make sure we’re all rising together and bringing the community together.

In a few weeks, the Philharmonic will perform a John Williams concert, and then a number of more accessible pop culture pieces.

John Williams is an amazing composer. And it’s a matter of balance and making sure there’s something for everyone. We have the John Williams concert and then the next one is all Brahms. The thing about the Las Vegas Philharmonic is that there are opportunities for people, no matter what their classical music exposure has been, to come to something and have a great time. Then next time maybe come to something they haven’t tried before and find out they like that too.

How do you make music that is 300 years old relevant to 21st century audiences?

With 300-year-old music, every orchestra will play it a little differently. We’re doing Beethoven 9 at the end of this season. If you hear it in Detroit or Chicago, it will be different than what you hear here, which is exciting. It’s up to the music director and orchestra to make it feel like something special. It’s finding the thing that makes it special for this group of musicians to make it relevant and exciting to this audience.

Why should people care about classical music and the Philharmonic?

Orchestral music has a way of evoking emotion and bringing people together in a way that other music does very differently. It is an opportunity to hear something different, to be carried away by something beautiful or something heart-wrenching. It’s good to have your emotions ignited by something, and then be able to talk about it with your friends or your community. It can be viewed as a beautiful escape from the day to day — and often it is and that has a lot of value — but sometimes it challenges you and makes you think, and that’s amazing.

Contact Janna Karel at Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like