Harpsichord Virtuoso Mahan Esfahani Opens LA Chamber Orchestra's Baroque Conversations Series Tonight
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) opens its five-concert Baroque Conversations series with an evening led by Iranian-born harpsichord virtuoso Mahan Esfahani featuring works by Bach, Telemann and Erlebach tonight, November 12, 2015, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
Esfahani, lauded by The New York Times for his "soulful flair," is joined by LACO concertmaster Margaret Batjer; assistant concertmaster Tereza Stanislav; Victoria Miskolczy, associate principal viola; Robert Brophy, viola; Armen Ksajikian, associate principal cello; Peter Lloyd, acting principal bass; Sandy Hughes, flute; and Allan Vogel, principal oboe; and guest musician John Schneiderman, theorbo. The program includes Erlebach's Ouvertüre IV; Telemann's Paris Quartet No. 7 in D major; and Bach's Sonata in G minor for Oboe and Harpsichord and Harpsichord Concerto No. 1 in D minor. A complimentary wine reception for all ticket holders begins at 6 pm.
Esfahani, in demand around the globe, has been hailed as "one of today's most thrilling harpsichordists" (Gramophone) and proclaimed a "superstar whose musicianship, imagination, virtuosity, cultural breadth and charisma far transcends the ivory tower in which the harpsichord has traditionally been placed" (The Times). Since making his London debut in 2009, he has worked tirelessly to establish the harpsichord in the mainstream of concert instruments in classical and contemporary repertoire, including giving the first harpsichord recital in the history of the BBC Proms in 2011.
LACO's highly regarded Baroque Conversations series spotlights repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period. In signature LACO style, artists share their insights into the music and invite questions from the audience, which provides an in-depth look at the music being presented as well as an opportunity to get to know LACO artists on a deeper level. Each Zipper Hall program begins with a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception.
Additional Baroque Conversations performances take place on February 4, March 24 and April 21, 2016, 7 pm, at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles; and on Saturday, May 21, 2016, 8 pm, at USC's Bovard Auditorium in partnership with the 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. Baroque Conversations is generously sponsored by Carol & Warner Henry, a Friend of LACO and the Ronus Foundation.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world's premier chamber orchestras as well as a pacesetter in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions.
Single tickets for the concert on November 12 (beginning at $57) and subscriptions to all five "Baroque Conversations" concerts ($260) are available online at laco.org, or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Single tickets can also be purchased at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are available by phone for groups of 12 or more. College students may purchase student rush tickets ($12), based on availability, at the box office an hour before the concert.
Born in Tehran in 1984, MAHAN ESFAHANI received his first guidance on the piano from his father before exploring the harpsichord as a teenager. Mentored by George Houle, he studied musicology and history at Stanford University, before studying intensively with Peter Watchorn (Boston) and Zuzana R?i?ková (Prague). He was a BBC New Generation Artist and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust prizewinner. In 2014, he was on the shortlist for the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year and Gramophone Artist of the Year, firsts for the harpsichord. After his 2009 London debut, Esfahani's mission to establish the harpsichord in mainstream classical and contemporary reper¬toire came to significant public attention when he played the first harpsichord recital in the history of the BBC in 2011. Esfahani is an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon.
MARGARET BATJER, who has served as concertmaster of the Los Ange¬les Chamber Orchestra since 1998, made her first solo appearance at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has since soloed with a succession of major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis, Seattle and Dallas symphony orchestras. Batjer has performed with such European ensembles as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Prague Chamber Orchestra and Berlin Symphony Orchestra. As an esteemed cham-ber musician, she appears regularly at the Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Salzburg Festival, and Italy's Naples and Cre¬mona festivals. In 2008, she developed LACO's acclaimed chamber music series, Westside Connections.
ROBERT BROPHY can be heard playing with the Los Angeles Philhar¬monic, LA Opera and many West Coast chamber music series. He is featured with Nigel Kennedy in a quartet for Kennedy's release Greatest Hits on the EMI label and has performed alongside Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Michel Dalberto and Dmitri Sitkovetsky. An advocate for new music and former member of the Ens? Quar¬tet, Brophy has worked with many leading composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Joan Tower, William Bolcom, Tan Dun and Bernard Rands. The Ens? Quartet earned multiple honors at the 2004 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Brophy joined LACO in 2011.
SANDY HUGHES became a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in the 2012-13 season. In addition to LACO, she is a member of the Bateira Trio and the new-music group, Ensemble LPR. Hughes also performs regularly with the New York Philhar¬monic. A Fulbright Grant recipient, and twice a fellow of both the Tanglewood and Aspen festivals, Hughes attended both the Man¬hattan and Hartt schools of music. Hughes' major teachers include Robert Langevin, Cindy Meyers and John Wion.
ARMEN KSAJIKIAN has performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber and Hollywood Bowl orchestras and Nacional Orchestre du Brazil. He has appeared at the Colorado, Banff, Venice Film and Oregon Bach music festivals and is a member of the adventurous Armadillo String Quartet. He takes great pride in appearing in "less conventional" venues such as on 16-day whitewater tours down the Colorado River, "concerts for grizzles" inside the clarifier tank of an old pulp in Sitka, and with the Hiland Mountain Women's String Orchestra at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. Ksajikian has worked with such notables as Cage, Williams, Corea, Newman, Incubus and the Eagles.
A native of Philadelphia, PETER LLOYD is the former principal bass of the Minnesota Orchestra. Throughout his career Lloyd has worked with many of the world's greatest conductors, including Riccardo Muti, Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, Eugene Ormandy and James Levine. He has dedicated much of his career to performing chamber music and has appeared with members of the Budapest, Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard and Orion string quartets. In addition to his concert schedule, Lloyd maintains an active teach¬ing career. He is currently a faculty member at The Colburn School. Lloyd performs on a world-renowned bass violin made by Daniel Hachez, graciously provided by Robertson Violins of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Australian-born VICTORIA MISKOLCZY has been LACO's associate prin¬cipal viola since 1989. Her many other concert appearances include performances with the Oregon Bach, Ojai and Mostly Mozart festi¬vals; the Sydney, Pacific and Pasadena symphonies and the Long Beach Orchestra. Her local chamber music credits include perfor¬mances with the Capitol Ensemble, the South Bay Chamber Music Society, Pacific Serenades, Camerata Pacifica, Jacaranda Series, Concert Guild and LACO at musicales and on its Baroque Con¬versations and Westside Connections series. Miskolczy has also performed solo recitals throughout the US, Canada and Australia, where two were aired on national radio, Australian Broadcasting Commission FM. A former part-time faculty member at the Univer¬sity of Southern California, Miskolczy now teaches privately.
Critically acclaimed virtuoso of plucked instruments since age nine, JOHN SCHNEIDERMAN specializes in the performance practice and repertoire of 18th century lutes and 19th century guitars. Schnei¬derman is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician and has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, among many others. Schneiderman is currently on the faculties of the University of California at Irvine and Irvine Valley College, and has been on the faculties of Orange Coast College, California State University, Long Beach and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Hailed for the "expressive beauty and wonderful intensity" (Robert Mann) of her playing, TEREZA STANISLAV is an active and versatile per¬former. A highly sought after chamber musician, she has appeared in venues such as the Library of Congress, Wigmore Hall and at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and with artists such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the Miró Quartet and Jon Kimura Parker. An advocate for new music, Stanislav has worked with many composers and performed several world premieres including Gun¬ther Schuller's Horn Quintet and Louis Andriessen's The City of Dis. Stanislav was awarded the highest grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in the category for Professional Musicians (Individuals) in Classical Music.
ALAN VOGEL joined LACO in 1972 and became principal oboe in 1974. Vogel has performed as guest principal oboe with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and appeared with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Berlin and Los Angeles philharmonics. He has been featured at the Marlboro, Santa Fe, Aspen and Mostly Mozart festivals, among others, and performed at the White House during the last state dinner of the Clinton presidency. Vogel is on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts, the University of Southern California and the Colburn School Conservatory of Music.
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO), proclaimed "America's finest chamber orchestra" by Public Radio International and "resplendent" by the Los Angeles Times, has established itself among the world's top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as "visionary" and "a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity" with "undeniable charisma," "effortless musicality and extraordinary communicative gifts." Under Kahane's leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 47-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents its Orchestral Series on Saturdays at Glendale's Alex Theatre and on Sundays at UCLA's Royce Hall; Baroque Conversations at downtown Los Angeles' Zipper Concert Hall and USC's Bovard Auditorium; Westside Connections chamber music series, designed to illustrate the relationship between music and other artistic disciplines, at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica; and an annual Discover concert, which features an in-depth examination that sheds new light on a single piece of music, at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium. LACO also presents a Concert Gala; LACO @ the Movies, featuring the Orchestra performing the score live; and several fundraising salons each year. Additionally, LACO outreach programs, Meet the Music, Community Partners, Campus to Concert Hall and the LACO/USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program, reach thousands of young people annually, nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music.
Pictured: Mahan Esfahani. Photo by Bernhard Musil.