Camerata Pacifica Closes Season With Clarice Assad World Premiere For Accordion In May

Joining Labro on the program of contemporary chamber works are Ani Aznavoorian, Cello; Nicholas Daniel, Oboe; Jose Franch-Ballester, Clarinet; and Ji Hye Jung, Percussion

By: Apr. 23, 2024
Camerata Pacifica Closes Season With Clarice Assad World Premiere For Accordion In May
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Camerata Pacifica's 2023-24 season wraps with the highly anticipated world premiere of “Petite Suite” by GRAMMY-nominated Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad written for a unique mix of instruments, including accordion, clarinet, cello, and marimba. Commissioned by Camerata Pacifica, it was composed for and features Julien Labro, one of the world's foremost accordion players in both jazz and classical genres.

The program is presented at four Southland venues: Friday, May 17, 7:30 pm, at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West; Sunday, May 19, 3 pm, at Thousand Oaks' Janet and Ray Scherr Forum; Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 7:30 pm, at The Huntington's Rothenberg Hall in San Marino; and Thursday, May 23, 8 pm, Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

Assad, renowned for her significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres, says, “'Petite Suite' brings together elements of French chanson and Latin-American music, combining classical and jazz notation with room for improvisation by the accordion player, the amazing Julien Labro. It's a playful, and nostalgic work that draws on my memories of childhood and adolescence spent visiting and living in France. This first part explores a simple idea: all players in unison, before they all get into different roles.”

Additionally, Camerata Pacifica presents the U.S. premiere of British composer Martin Butler's scintillating Remember This Fire for oboe and percussion, which was inspired by Ezra Pound's poem The Alchemist.

The season finale also features New Zealand-Greek composer John Psathas' One Study, a virtuosic work for marimba, with junk percussion and digital audio, and Listen, Quiet for cello and electronics by Paola Prestini, named one of the Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music (Washington Post) and known for her “otherwordly…outright gorgeous music” (The New York Times).

In addition to Labro, featured artists include Camerata Pacifica Principal Cello Ani Aznavoorian; Principal Oboe Nicholas Daniel; Principal Clarinet Jose Franch-Ballester; and Principal Percussion Ji Hye Jung.

“Camerata Pacifica is proud to continue its legacy of expanding the chamber music repertoire with Clarice Assad's commission,” says Camerata Pacifica Founder and Artistic Director Adrian Spence. “This thrilling program showcases the incredible breadth of chamber music, which is very much an evolving art form embraced by some of today's leading contemporary composers. It is transformative and unexpected music uniquely suited to the versatility and technical skills of our amazing artists.”

Camerata Pacifica is renowned for bold programming that demonstrates the limitless scope of the chamber music repertoire.


Tickets ($75 at The Huntington, Music Academy of the West, and Zipper Hall; $80 at Janet and Ray Scherr Forum) are available at or 805-884-8410.

About Julien Labro

Julien Labro, heralded as “the next accordion star” by the Chicago Tribune, has established himself as one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players in both the classical and jazz genres. Deemed to be a triple threat: brilliant technician, poetic melodist and cunning arranger, his artistry, virtuosity, and creativity as a musician, composer and arranger have earned him international acclaim and continue to astonish audiences worldwide. French-born Labro was influenced early on by traditional folk music and the melodic, lyrical quality of the French chanson. Upon discovering the music of jazz legends, he quickly became inspired by the originality, freedom, creativity, and the endless possibilities in their musical language. After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, Labro began winning international awards including the Coupe Mondiale, the Castelfidardo Competitions, and many others. In 1998, Labro moved to the United States, where he further pursued his musical dream. Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from his diverse academic background and eclectic musical influences as he searches for new themes and untried concepts, transforming and developing his creative ideas into new projects. Labro has collaborated with numerous symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, often playing the dual roles of solo artist as well as composer/arranger. These include the conductorless Boston-based chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, Spektral Quartet, Arneis Quartet, Ensemble Vivant of Toronto, and Curtis On Tour from the Curtis Institute of Music faculty of Philadelphia. He has been a guest soloist with numerous symphonies such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke's, New World Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Cape Cod Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and many more. Labro's musical journey has taken him all across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His classical collaborations include A Far Cry, Spektral Quartet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke's, New World Symphony, the Qatar Philharmonic, The Paul Taylor Dance Company and the New York City Ballet. Labro has written for numerous ensembles, from quartets to full symphony orchestras. He has premiered works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun, Bryce Dessner, Angélica Negrón, Clarice Assad, Ethan Iverson, and Avner Dorman. Julien has collaborated with Cassandra Wilson, Maria Schneider, Anat Cohen, João Donato, Marcel Khalife, Paquito D'Rivera, Pablo Ziegler, Uri Caine, Miguel Zenón,  James Carter, John Clayton, guitarists Larry Coryell, Tommy Emmanuel, and John and Bucky Pizzarelli. After a busy summer touring the US performing at prestigious festivals such as Ravinia Festival and Tanglewood Music Festival, Labro is featured this season on performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Orchestra of St Luke's, the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra plus an ongoing collaboration with the Takács Quartet and the premier a new collaboration with Evan Lurie and Mark Ribot at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN.

Camerata Pacifica, considered one of the nation's leading chamber ensembles, has been hailed as “innovative and intrepid” (The Daily Telegraph), “visceral and powerful” (The Economist). Its considerable commissioning portfolio includes more than 20 works by such established and rising composers as John Harbison, Jake Heggie, Huang Ruo, Lera Auerbach, Bright Sheng, Ian Wilson, David Bruce, Libby Larsen, and John Luther Adams. Two new commissions for the ensemble are currently in process from Clarice Assad and Niloufar Nourbakhsh. The chamber collective has also been lauded for its warm and engaging rapport with audiences, bringing context and immediacy to the music it performs. Based in Santa Barbara, California, the ensemble enjoys a busy performance schedule throughout Southern California and beyond. Camerata Pacifica's flagship annual series showcases its exceptional musicians as well as a range of distinguished guest artists. Each program is structured as a week-long residency with the ensemble performing in four Southern California locales: The Huntington's Rothenberg Hall in San Marino; Colburn School's Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Janet and Ray Scherr Forum in Thousand Oaks; and Santa Barbara's Music Academy, Hahn Hall. The chamber ensemble has previously toured to Hong Kong and appeared at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, and major concert halls in London, Dublin and Belfast. Camerata Pacifica was founded by Artistic Director Adrian Spence, an acclaimed “high-flying flautist” (The Irish Times) applauded for his “unstoppable energy, his organizational genius, his taste in music and musicians” (Noozhawk). A native of Northern Ireland, Spence's keen artistic sensibilities are evident in every aspect of Camerata Pacifica, from the ensemble's stellar roster of international chamber artists and thoughtfully curated musical offerings to its authentic connection with audiences. He also sets the tone for the deep comradery among the collective's musicians, which is evident both on and off stage.

In addition to its busy performance schedule, Camerata Pacifica is committed to serving the community. In 2021, Camerata Pacifica, in collaboration with UCLA Health, developed The Nightingale Channel, a landmark resource for hospitals providing programming drawn from the ensemble's extensive video library of its performances delivered via iPads to patient bedsides and care teams. Based on the well-documented positive effects of music in healing, The Nightingale Channel has been adopted by UCLA Health, UC Davis Health, Keck Medicine at USC, Loma Linda University Medical Center, City of Hope National Medical Center, and Augusta University Health, and is being introduced to other hospitals across the country.


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