Author Mark Salzman and LA Chamber Orchestra Debut MUSIC & STORY Series Tonight, 9/13

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's (LACO) trademark three-concert "Westside Connections" series this season pairs novelists and musicians for a fascinating exploration of the relationship between "Music & Story" beginning tonight, September 13, 7:30 pm, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The opening program features acclaimed bestselling novelist Mark Salzman, award-winning author of True Notebooks and Lying Awake, and Iron & Silk, which was inspired by his years living in China and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Salzman joins LACO Principal Cello Andrew Shulman onstage, narrating a unique performance piece that explores Salzman's struggle with writer's block and how his deep love of Bach's cello suites broke the spell. Mozart's E-major Piano Trio, composed at the zenith of his powers, brings the evening to a joyful close. LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, currently celebrating her 15th anniversary with the Orchestra, curates and hosts the series, which showcases the virtuoso talent of LACO musicians and illustrates the myriad ways music touches other artistic disciplines, society and our lives.

Salzman, also an accomplished cellist, has performed with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax at Lincoln Center and is featured on cello in several film scores. His unusual combination of talents inspired a feature profile about him by The New Yorker.

"Westside Connections" continues on March 7, 2013, featuring author Jane Hamilton, whose first novel, The Book of Ruth, published in 1988, won the PEN/ Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the prestigious Oprah's Book Club. She joins LACO artists for a program of works by Brahms and Osvaldo Golijov in which the composers reveal their own stories. The series concludes April 15 with author Mona Simpson, whose 2011 novel My Hollywood features as the protagonist a classical composer. Simpson lends insights to the Beethoven Violin Sonata that inspired Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata, which in turn inspired Janácek's String Quartet No. 1, both of which are performed by LACO artists on the final "Westside Connections" concert.<

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the nation's premier orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2012-13 season, the Orchestra's 44th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established and notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world's foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 16th season as LACO's music director.

"Westside Connections" tickets ($50) are on sale now and may be purchased online at, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001 x 1, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for groups of 12 or more. The Broad Stage is located at 1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, Calif.

Photo credit: Jessica Yu