LA Chamber Orchestra Announces 2014-15 Season; Jeffrey Kahane Named Music Director Laureate
Esteemed and much beloved Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Music Director Jeffrey Kahane will be named Music Director Laureate at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season when he steps down from the Orchestra's artistic helm in three years following an unprecedented 20-year tenure, announced LACO President K. Eugene Shutler. Kahane will become the first Music Director Laureate in the Orchestra's history when he assumes the newly established post in recognition of his great contributions to the Orchestra.
The news about Kahane's impending transition was made in conjunction with the announcement of the 2014-15 music season for LACO, considered one of the nation's premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Shutler added that LACO's Board of Directors will commence an intensive search for Kahane's successor.
Hailed as one of the world's foremost conductors and pianists, Kahane has earned accolades for his key role in elevating the Orchestra's stature, expanding the chamber orchestra repertoire, championing and collaborating with emerging composers and artists, collaborating closely with the Orchestra's musicians, and leading a vibrant and financially healthy orchestra. He has been praised by critics as "visionary" and "a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity" with "undeniable charisma."
"It is momentous news for all of us who have enjoyed Jeffrey's stellar music-making over the years that he will step down as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at the end of the 2016-17 season," says Shutler. "But it is equally important that Jeffrey will continue his long and successful leadership of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the next three seasons and has enthusiastically accepted the Board's invitation to become Music Director Laureate thereafter. His incomparable artistry, forward-thinking programming, committed leadership and genuine collegiality have been key to LACO's tremendous success during his long and productive tenure. He is admired by the entire LACO community, and his contributions have positively impacted every aspect of the Orchestra, from its artistic excellence to its fiscal vigor."
"I am truly happy to be able to continue making music and developing new and exciting creative projects at the highest level with my extraordinary colleagues of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the coming three years," says Kahane. "And I am deeply honored that LACO has established the Music Director Laureate position on my behalf. It goes without saying that I am also immensely grateful for the opportunity to continue collaborating with these phenomenal musicians after my tenure as Music Director concludes, even as I pursue other musical endeavors."
LACO's Board of Directors will form a search committee to "find the visionary who will assume artistic leadership as the 6th music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra," according to Shutler. In addition to Kahane, Sir Neville Marriner is among the august list of music directors who have served LACO since it was founded in 1968.
Looking ahead to the 2014-15 season, Kahane's 18th as Music Director and LACO's 46th, he has programmed a mix of seminal masterpieces and enthralling premieres designed to showcase LACO's exceptional artistry and a dynamic roster of guest artists both celebrated and rising, with the maestro conducting four of seven orchestral concerts from the podium or keyboard on Saturdays at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and on Sundays at UCLA's Royce Hall. Kahane also continues to lead the popular "Discover" concert at Ambassador Auditorium and appears as both conductor and harpsichordist on the "Baroque Conversations" series at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles, both of which offer audiences an in-depth look at the music as well as an opportunity to get to know LACO artists on a more personal level. LACO's "Westside Connections" continues at the 344-seat, state-of-the-art Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica, providing an intimate setting for the fascinating and often surprising programs, which link music to disparate aspects of our culture.
Among numerous season highlights across these four diverse series are two world premieres that bookend the season, which opens with a world premiere by Australian composer Cameron Patrick paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 on September 20 and 21, 2014, and concludes on May 16 and 17, 2015, with a world premiere by composer Ted Hearne, who assumes in the position of Assistant Professor of Composition at USC in the fall. Hearne's new work is presented in conjunction with the Orchestra's unique and highly successful "Sound Investment" commissioning program, initiated during Kahane's tenure 14 years ago to engage LACO audiences in developing new works.
Additionally, the Orchestra presents the West Coast premiere of Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman's Imagined Landscapes on April 18 and 19, 2015, and the Los Angeles premiere of the Viola Concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, written for and performed by acclaimed violist Paul Neubauer, on November 15 and 16, 2014, a program which also features Kahane performing and conducting from the keyboard Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.
LACO showcases Steven Isserlis, "one of the world's leading cellists" (The Guardian), performing Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 2 under the baton of "superb," and much sought-after Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd on October 18 and 19, 2014, with Boyd, who makes his LACO debut, also conducting Mozart's "Haffner" Serenade and At First Light I by George Benjamin.
Dallas Symphony Assistant Conductor and "masterful" violinist Karina Canellakis, also making her LACO debut, does double duty conducting Finnish composer P?teris Vasks's powerfully meditative Lonely Angel, John Adams' early masterpiece Shaker Loops and Schubert's lighthearted Symphony No. 5, and performing Vivaldi's vivid Violin Concerto, "La tempesta di mare" ("Storm") on January 24 and 25, 2015.
Another multi-talented artist and LACO favorite, violinist Joseph Swensen, a renowned conductor who has twice led LACO from the podium and has recently refocused on his career as a violinist, joins the Orchestra as soloist to perform Prokofiev's athletic Violin Concerto No. 2, on March 14 and 15, 2015. Led by Kahane, the concert also spotlights LACO Principal Flute David Shostac, on the occasion of his 40th anniversary with the Orchestra, in its first performance of Mozart's beautiful Flute Concerto No. 1, and features LACO Composer-in-Residence Andrew Norman's Gran Turismo for eight solo violins, which the composer describes as a "creative joyride" named after "an addictive car racing video game."
Both making their LACO debuts, "exhilarating" New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein leads cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, winner of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition, in Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1 on April 18 and 19, 2015. In addition, the rising conductor helms Mozart's Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter."
To conclude the season, Jonathan Biss, "one of the most thoughtful and technically accomplished pianists of the younger generation" (BBC Music Magazine), performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, led by Kahane, who also conducts the Hearne world premiere and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, "Italian."
LACO's popular annual "Discover" concert at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium features an in-depth examination by Kahane that sheds light on the creation and significance of Mozart's magnificent Requiem in D minor, a crowning musical statement left unfinished at the time of the composer's untimely death.
Oregon Bach Festival Music Director/harpsichordist Matthew Halls, Jeffrey Kahane and Principal Cello Andrew Shulman are among the artists featured in the "Baroque Conversations" series at downtown LA's Zipper Hall. This enlightening five-concert series, which provides insight into the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period, opens with a program that celebrates LACO artistic founder/former cellist James Arkatov. LACO repeats the concert at the Valley Performing Arts Center, in its first appearance at the Northridge Center.
Continuing to step outside the proverbial music "box," LACO's innovative "Westside Connections" series at Santa Monica's Moss Theater at New Roads School, features a thought-provoking exploration this season of connections between music and architecture with such featured guests as Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. The inter-disciplinary, three-concert, chamber music series, designed to illustrate the myriad ways music is woven into society and our lives, is curated by Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, who selects chamber works to complement the presentations of the special guests.
LACO embarks on its third season as the Orchestra-in-Residence of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (formerly UCLA Live). Other community partnerships include the "LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program," in which, for the fifth consecutive year, selected Thornton students participate in a mock audition with the possibility of winning a guest musician slot in the string section on a LACO concert.
Experimental classical music ensemble wild Up begins a three-year residency as LACO Education-Artists-in-Residence, participating in the Orchestra's "Meet the Music" performances for 2,600 LAUSD Elementary school students annually. These performances reach younger students on a fundamental level through four live programs at downtown LA's Zipper Hall, funded by LACO, often including student transportation, with venue costs generously waived by The Colburn School.
The Orchestra also hosts several musical fundraisers, including LACO's annual "Concert Gala" and five "LACO à la carte" salons pairing delectable international cuisine and exclusive musical performances by LACO artists in spectacular international residences.
A number of LACO musicians mark major tenure milestones this season, including Principal Flute David Shostac (40 years); Principal Horn Richard Todd (35 years); Violin I Jacqueline Brand (30 years) and Violin I Jennifer Munday (35 years); Violin I Tamara Hatwan (20 years); Violin II Cheryl Norman-Brick (10 years); Violin II Connie Kupka and Violin II Katia Popov (both 25 years); and Bassoon Damian Montano (10 years).
Guggenheim Partners, LLC is an official sponsor of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. LACO also recognizes the generous support of Jerry and Terri Kohl and two anonymous donors for their support of LACO's "Cornerstone Campaign" to further strengthen the Orchestra's fiscal standing and ensure its continued artistic advancement and key role in the community, Carol and Warner Henry for "Baroque Conversations," and The Colburn Foundation. The Orchestra also receives public funding via grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
2014-15 SEASON DETAILED
LACO presents seven programs in its core "Orchestral Series," each with back-to-back performances on Saturday nights at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and Sunday nights at UCLA's Royce Hall. The series showcases LACO's remarkable artistry and trademark mix of orchestral masterpieces and daring new works from today's leading composers, as well as the much-admired collaborative style between LACO artists and Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, who conducts four of the seven "Orchestral Series" programs. Passionate, joyous and engaging, the series this season features a range of exceptional guest artists.
• Opening: Cameron Patrick, Saint-Saëns, Beethoven. LACO's 2014-15 season launches with Jeffrey Kahane conducting a program of works iconic and new anchored by Beethoven's crowning Symphony No. 5, and also featuring the world premiere of a piece written for strings and percussion that reflects Aboriginal culture by Australian composer Cameron Patrick, which was commissioned by LACO. Additionally, Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen, an "exciting new talent" (The New York Times) hailed for his technical excellence and lyrical playing, adds sonic flourish with a performance of Saint-Saëns exotic and seldom performed Piano Concerto No. 5, "Egyptian" in his LACO debut. (Saturday, September 20, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, September 21, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
• George Benjamin, Haydn, Mozart. LACO showcases the virtuosic skills of Steven Isserlis, "one of the world's leading cellists" (The Guardian) and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, performing Haydn's sparkling Cello Concerto No. 2, under the baton of sought-after Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd. Making his LACO debut, Boyd also conducts Mozart's stately "Haffner" Serenade, premiered when the composer was just 21 years old. The program opens with At First Light I by George Benjamin, considered among Britian's greatest living composers. According to Benjamin, the inspiration for the piece, which was commissioned and premiered by the London Sinfonietta in 1982, is an oil painting by Turner hanging in the Tate Gallery that stirred him to create a "melted...flowing, nebulous continuum of sound." Boyd, who was a founding member and principal oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 21 years before turning to conducting in 2002, has served as Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and is acclaimed for his vibrant conducting style. (Saturday, October 18, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, October 19, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)