A big role player in the success was music director Carmen Dragon, who
attracted a parade of high-profile guest artists to join the symphony for
The symphony also benefited from the efforts of local banker J.E.
Hoeft. The politically connected Hoeft was recruited by board members of
the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in 1957 to serve as its president.
It was Hoeft's lobbying, shortly after his 1964 appointment to the
Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission, that secured the
symphony a place at Dorothy Chandler.
Also in the early 1960s, Dragon began appearing as the orchestra's
guest conductor. He would be named music director in 1965.
"When Dragon came on, it exploded," said Brian Ellis, the current
Dragon, a one-time conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,
had worked as an arranger in television and movies before talking the
Glendale job. Dragon's collegial relationship with NBC West Coast Music
Director Meredith Willson helped secure several live performances for the
symphony on the network.
In Dec. 18, 1964, with Dragon conducting, the orchestra presented "The
Sounds of Christmas" on NBC. The program won an Emmy award.
Among the well-known artists who performed with the group during
Dragon's 20-year tenure - which ended with his death in 1984 - were
conductor Miklos Rozsa and William Dooley, a baritone from New York's