Oregon Bach Festival's Matthew Halls to Conduct LA Chamber Orchestra, 1/25-26

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), continuing a long-established relationship with the Oregon Bach Festival, welcomes the Festival's new Artistic Director Matthew Halls as guest conductor in his California debut, leading a program that spans the centuries and spotlights LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman, Principal Oboe Allan Vogel and Principal Bassoon Kenneth Munday, on Saturday, January 25, 8 pm, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and Sunday, January 26, 2014, 7 pm, at UCLA's Royce Hall. Halls, "a fresh and forceful talent" whose "music-making is strongly and clearly sculpted" (The Times, London), leads Mozart's Ballet Music from Idomeneo, K. 367, Haydn's Sinfonia concertante in B-flat major, and Beethoven's playful Symphony No. 1 in C major, which was instantly hailed as a masterpiece. Providing a dramatic counterpoint to the program is Aaron Jay Kernis' solemn Musica Celestis, a string-orchestra transcription of one of his string quartets that has been likened to Barber's famous Adagio.

Halls, known for his dynamic work with both major symphony orchestras and opera companies and for his probing and vibrant interpretations of music of all periods, has been lauded by the Irish Times for his "discerning energy." Based on the tremendous impact of his performances when he appeared for the first time at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2011, he was asked to succeed Helmuth Rilling as artistic director. He has since returned annually and assumed the post in July at the conclusion of the 2013 festival.

Concert Preludes, pre-concert talks held one hour before curtain and free for ticket holders, provide insights into the music and artists. LACO General Manager Andrea Laguni interviews Halls.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world's premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2013-14 season, the Orchestra's 45th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established as well as notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world's foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 17th season as LACO's music director.

Tickets, starting at $25, are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. College students may purchase student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, at the box office the day of the concert. Also available for college students is the $25 "Campus to Concert Hall All Access Pass" - good for all seven of LACO's Orchestral series concerts, Discover Beethoven's Eroica and three Westside Connections concerts.

An extremely versatile musician, British Conductor MATTHEW HALLS first came to prominence as a keyboard player and early music conductor who has since become known for conducting all styles of classical music with major symphony orchestras and opera companies. For his debut with the Toronto Symphony in 2013, he led a highly acclaimed performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Recent and upcoming North American engagements include the National Symphony Orchestra; the Houston, Seattle and Colorado sympho¬nies and Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra. His European appearances include BBC Scottish Symphony, Bergen and Bremen philharmonic and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He became the artistic director of Oregon Bach Festival in July 2013.

MARGARET BATJER has served as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998. Batjer made her first solo appear¬ance at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 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. She appears regularly at the Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summer¬fest, Salzburg Festival, and Italy's Naples and Cremona festivals. In 2008, she developed LACO's acclaimed chamber music series, Westside Connections.

Appointed to LACO in 1976, KENNETH MUNDAY serves as principal bassoon. He has collaborated as a soloist with all five LACO music directors and gave the world premiere of John Steinmetz's Bassoon Concerto. Munday has worked as principal bassoon for many com¬posers including Danny Elfman, John Williams and Hans Zimmer, appearing on hundreds of film scores. He founded the Strawberry Creek Music Festival and has participated in the Marlboro Music and Mostly Mozart festivals. Munday has served on the faculties of California State University Northridge and Fullerton, San Diego State University, UCLA and the University of Redlands.

ANDREW SHULMAN was appointed principal cello of LACO in 2008 and has recently become a professor of violoncello at the Univer¬sity of Southern CaliforniA. Shulman was the first British winner of the Piatigorsky Artist Award and was bestowed with an Honorary RCM by The Queen Mother in 1986. He was solo cello of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, first chair with London's Philharmonia Orchestra and principal cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has given recitals in the Royal Palace in Stockholm; in London at Wigmore Hall, Buckingham Pal¬ace and Royal Festival Hall; and locally at the Hollywood Bowl.

ALLAN VOGEL joined LACO in 1972 and became principal oboe in 1974. Vogel has performed as guest principal oboe with the Bos¬ton Symphony Orchestra, 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 Marl¬boro, Santa Fe, Aspen and Mostly Mozart festivals, among others, and has 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, 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." Under Kahane's leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 45-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 at Glendale's Alex Theatre and UCLA's Royce Hall; Baroque Conversations at downtown Los Angeles' Zipper Concert Hall; 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, an annual Silent Film screening 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.

PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Richmond

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