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Dana Point Symphony Orchestra conductor talks musical influences, preferences, performances

Meet Dean Anderson, music director and conductor, Dana Point Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Courtesy of DPSO
Meet Dean Anderson, music director and conductor, Dana Point Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Courtesy of DPSO

By Andrea Swayne

In celebration of the 2015 “One World” season of the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra, the DP Times has been featuring a series of question and answer articles and and artist bios to introduce Dana Point audiences to some of the musicians of the DPSO.

This week we are talking with Music Director and Conductor Dean Anderson.

Anderson, music director for the Dana Point Symphony and Symphony Irvine, has been living and working as a music director in Southern California for more than a decade. He is also the director of orchestral studies at La Sierra University.

Anderson’s collaborations include performances with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Concertmaster Martin Chalifour and Principal Trombonist James Miller.

As guest conductor of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony in 2011, Anderson became the first professional American conductor to lead the orchestra.

He has also led the Grumo Festival Orchestra, Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Siam Sinfonietta and Yakima Chamber Orchestra.

Anderson studied conducting at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Currently, under the mentorship of Neal Stulberg, he is earning a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at UCLA.

DANA POINT TIMES: Why did you start studying music?

DEAN ANDERSON: I was immediately attracted to the sound of the violin as a child. I first heard “Eine Kleine Nacht Musik” by Mozart when I was 5 and I just had to be able to play that music myself.

DPT: Who has influenced your musical style the most and why?

DA:  My musical style is constantly evolving but I have always been influenced by conductors from the mid-20th century—Herbert von Karajan, Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein. They brought such unique interpretations to their performances. Bernstein was able to make the music work in slower tempos, bringing out deeper emotions in the smallest phrase. I admire Ormandy’s lush orchestral tone in all of his recordings.

DPT: Why do you like performing with the DPSO?

DA: I like the fresh energy and musicianship of the orchestra members. They always have a great attitude during rehearsals. While they bring such a high level of artistry to the performance, they are also flexible and always ready to try new things outside their comfort zone.

DPT: What are your three all-time favorite songs, symphonic or otherwise?

DA: “Mahler Symphony No. 2,” Ella Fitzgerald singing “I Got Rhythm” and “Let it Be” by the Beatles.

DPT: Describe your musical career in 10 words or less.

DA: A thrilling journey that never ends with talented, marvelous artists.



The second concert of the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra’s “One World” season is set for Saturday, May 30, 7:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s Church, 33926 Calle La Primavera.

The symphony, under the direction of Dean Anderson, music director and conductor, will perform an evening of music from France, featuring Yang Bartolotti on violin.

The program includes:

  • Ravel, “Bolero”
  • Ravel, “Tzigane”
  • Debussy, “La Mer”

Concerts are held once a month through July. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and military. A season pass is $60.

Tickets are available online at, and on a first come, first served basis at the door before the performance.

Concert No. 3 is scheduled for June 13, featuring music from Vienna, and No. 4, on July 11 will showcase American music.

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