Pasadena Pops names new artistic director

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Composer Marvin Hamlisch attends a Society of Composers & Lyricists/ASCAP Q&A prior to a screening of 'The Informant!' at the Linwood Dunn Theater on November 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

A big-name composer is taking the top artistic position at the Pasadena Pops. The new appointment coincides with economic challenges for the orchestra.

Starting next summer, Marvin Hamlisch takes the baton. It's his first leadership role with an orchestra in the Los Angeles area, although he’s worked with pops orchestras elsewhere including San Diego.

In a career that spans four decades, Hamlisch has won Oscars for his work on "The Sting" and "The Way We Were," and earned a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his "A Chorus Line" score as well as three Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe.

Like many orchestras, the Pops has struggled to pare down significant debt. The ensemble recently lost its musical director and conductor. Many of its players are studio musicians who perform for the movies and TV, so the Hamlisch-Hollywood connection might provide a boost.

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