LA Chamber Orchestra's WESTSIDE CONNECTIONS Series to Feature Author Jane Hamilton, 3/7
Award-winning author Jane Hamilton adds her unique literary voice to the second program in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's (LACO) three-concert "Westside Connections" series, which this season pairs novelists and musicians for a fascinating exploration of the relationship between "Music & Story," on Thursday, March 7, 7:30 pm, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
Hamilton joins guest soprano Stacey Tappan and LACO artists as they explore music in which composers reveal their own stories. 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.
Hamilton's international bestsellers include The Book of Ruth, recipient of the PEN/ Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and selected for the prestigious Oprah's Book Club, and A Map of the World.
Along with Hamilton's insightful commentary, the concert features Brahms's exotic and innovative G major Sextet, in which the composer used both rhythm and musical notation to evoke the name of Agathe von Siebold, with whom he was infatuated at the time. It is juxtaposed with Osvaldo Golijov's multi-layered Tenebrae. Known for his musical diversity, the Grammy Award-winning composer notes Tenebrae can be "listened to from different perspectives... if one chooses to listen to it 'from afar,' the music would probably offer a 'beautiful' surface but, from a metaphorically closer distance, one could hear that, beneath that surface, the music is full of pain."
In addition to Batjer, LACO artists featured are Roland Kato, principal viola, and Victoria Miskolczy, associate principal viola; Andrew Shulman, principal cello; Joshua Ranz, principal clarinet; Jennifer Munday, Joel Pargman and Susan Rishik, violins; Robert Brophy, viola; and Giovanna M. Clayton and Trevor Handy, cellos.
"Westside Connections" concludes on April 15, 2013, with author Mona Simpson, whose 2011 novel My Hollywood features a Santa Monica-based classical composer as the protagonist. At this third and final concert in the 2012-13 series, Simpson lends her insights when LACO artists perform two works that share a literary connection, Janá?ek's String Quartet No. 1 inspired by Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata, which in turn took its inspiration from Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Violin Sonata.
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 laco.org, 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.
MARGARET BATJER has served as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998. Throughout her successful career as soloist, chamber musician, teacher and concertmaster, she has established herself as a versatile and respected artist worldwide. Batjer made her first solo appearance at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). She has since returned to the CSO and 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 chamber musician, she appears regularly at the Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Salzburg Festival, and Italy's Naples and Cremona festivals. In 2008, she developed LACO's acclaimed chamber music series, Westside Connections. Among her many noteworthy recordings, Batjer has twice recorded Bach's Concerto for Two Violins: for the Philips label with Salvatore Accardo and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and in 2003, paired as soloist with Hilary Hahn for Deutsche Grammophon with Jeffrey Kahane conducting the LA Chamber Orchestra. Batjer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Ivan Galamian and David Cerone. She joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2005.
JANE HAMILTON lives, works and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, published in 1988 won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. She has also written A Map of the World and The Short History of a Prince; and her short stories have appeared in Harper's magazine. Born and raised in the Midwest, Hamilton graduated from Carleton College as an English major and shortly thereafter published her first collection of short stories.
STACEY TAPPAN has distinguished herself as an exceptional musical artist. Critics praise her "witty and sexy" performances and she is hailed as a "tremendous American soprano" and "a magnificent discovery." Current engagements for Tappan include Lucia di Lammermoor with Arizona Opera and Clorinda in La cenerentola with LA Opera. Recent appearances have included Miss Wordsworth in LA Opera's Albert Herring and Krenek's Das Geheime Königreich with James Conlon; singing Wing on Wing, composed and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen with the LA Philharmonic; the Charmeuse in Thaïs at the Edinburgh Festival; the Ring Cycle with San Francisco Opera; and performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mahler's Fourth Symphony and his "Symphony of a Thousand" at the Hollywood Bowl. Tappan made her professional debut with Houston Grand Opera as Beth in Little Women, broadcast on PBS' Great Performances and released on CD by Ondine and on DVD by Naxos. Her awards include grants from the Elardo Competition and the Solti Foundation US, as well as scholarships from Wolf Trap Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Special guest Jane Hamilton, author/narrator
Margaret Batjer, curator & host
Stacey Tappan, soprano
Joshua Ranz, clarinet
Joel Pargman, violin
Jennifer Munday, violin
Victoria Miskolczy, viola
Giovanna Clayton, cello
Susan Rishik, violin
Roland Kato, viola
Robert Brophy, viola
Andrew Shulman, cello
Trevor Handy, cello
OSVALDO GOLIJOV Tenebrae
BRAHMS String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36
Single tickets at $50 each can be purchased by phone (213 622 7001 x 1) as well as online at laco.org. For further information about the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's 2012-13 season, call 213 622 7001, or visit www.laco.org.
Pictured: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. Photo Credit: Michael Burke.