Joshua Bell and Jennifer Koh to Return for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's 50th Anniversary Season; Lineup Announced!
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), one of the nation's premier orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions, announces programming for its milestone 50th Anniversary season in 2017-18, which spotlights its virtuosic artists and builds upon the Orchestra's five decades of intimate and transformative musical programs.
Heralding the landmark occasion as an extended opportunity to broaden the Orchestra's collaborations and inventive programming, LACO names Composer-in-Residence Andrew Norman its first Creative Advisor and extends his contract through the 2018-19 season.
Returning to LACO's stage are violinists Joshua Bell and Jennifer Koh, appointed LACO's Guest Artist-in-Residence for the fall, and guest conductors Douglas Boyd, Karina Canellakis, Thomas Dausgaard and Peter Oundjian. Jeffrey Kahane, who steps down as Music Director in June 2017 after a 20-year tenure, makes his first appearance in his new role as LACO Conductor Laureate. The season features the world premiere of Norman's Violin Concerto, written for and featuring Koh, among other highlights.
"As a gifted composer with a flourishing career and an imaginative voice, Andrew Norman has had a tremendous impact on the classical music field and on LACO, in particular," says LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison. "We are pleased to significantly expand our relationship and welcome his innovative perspectives in his new capacity as Creative Advisor. As LACO celebrates 50 years of intimate and transformative music-making, Andrew will be joined by a distinctive group of new and returning guest conductors, soloists and composers who will push the orchestra to greater artistic heights while helping us connect more deeply with the many audiences we serve across the county."
Norman was named LACO's Composer-in-Residence five years ago. Recently recognized with the prestigious 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition, he was also named Musical America 2016 Composer of the Year.
"I am thrilled to be serving the LACO family in my expanded role," says Norman. "As we work together to explore opportunities to engage with our community and serve new audiences, I can't wait to see where we can go."
LACO's Orchestral Series includes eight programs, featuring four LACO-co-commissions, among them Norman's world premiere, another world premiere by LACO Sound Investment composer Ellen Reid and the West Coast premiere of Pierre Jalbert's Violin Concerto, with Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. A range of works from LACO's signature repertoire includes Vivaldi's Concerto Grosso in D Minor, the first work ever performed by LACO 50 years ago. LACO also presents Beethoven Symphony No. 2 in D Major, "Mozart In Focus," featuring Mozart's final three symphonies, and continues a multi-year exploration of Haydn's 12 London Symphonies, considered a cornerstone of the chamber music repertoire. Underscoring the virtuosity of the Orchestra itself, a conductor-less program caps the season.
The Orchestra presents a number of other eminent guest artists and conductors on its Orchestral Series, including LACO debuts of Spanish conductor Jaime Martín, pianist Menahem Pressler who last year at the age of 92 dazzled audiences with the Berlin Philharmonic, French pianist David Fray, English tenor Toby Spence and teenage cello virtuoso Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who has also been named LACO's Guest Artist-in-Residence for the spring and is making his US orchestral debut. The residencies of Kanneh-Mason and Koh include masterclasses, community engagement opportunities and free public performances, along with their concert appearances, providing more accessible musical opportunities to the broader Los Angeles community.
Additionally, LACO expands its relationship with Baroque Artistic Partner Mahan Esfahani, a harpsichordist who appears on the Baroque Conversations series and makes his debut on LACO's Orchestral Series in a program featuring all six Brandenburg Concertos led by Batjer. Other guest artists making guest appearances on the Baroque Conversations series are conductors Harry Bicket and Ricardo Minasi.
LACO also expands its "Music +" chamber music and discussion series (formerly "Westside Connections") curated by Batjer at Santa Monica's Moss Theatre. For the first time, concerts will be repeated at a brand new venue for the Orchestra in a San Gabriel Valley location to be announced. This season, the "Music +" series explores the relationship between music and dance.
In addition to presenting its "Music +" series at the Moss Theatre and a new San Gabriel Valley venue to be announced, LACO performs across the Southland as Orchestra-in-Residence at Glendale's Alex Theatre and Orchestra-in-Residence at Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA). Zipper Concert Hall at The Colburn School is the home of LACO's Baroque Conversations series.
LACO continues as a partner in the "LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program," in which selected Thornton students participate in a mock audition with the possibility of winning a guest musician slot in a strings section for a LACO concert. The program is designed to enhance preparedness of strings students for a professional career. LACO musicians also perform side-by-side with Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), deepening the Orchestra's commitment with that training organization, which seeks to introduce inner-city youth to the life-affirming power of music.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, proclaimed "America's finest chamber orchestra" by Public Radio International, has established itself among the world's top musical ensembles. Over the past five decades, the Orchestra, noted as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers, has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America, Japan and North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. With the establishment of LACO in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the recording industry's most gifted musicians, Los Angeles' music and culture scene took a major step forward. Since then, the Orchestra's five illustrious music directors - Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown, Christof Perick and Jeffrey Kahane - have set a standard of musical excellence for the orchestra that continues today. LACO's artistic founder, cellist James Arkatov, envisioned an ensemble that would allow the Orchestra's conservatory-trained players to balance studio work and teaching with pure artistic collaboration at the highest level. Financial backing for the Orchestra came from philanthropist Richard Colburn and managerial expertise from attorney Joseph Troy, who also became LACO's first president.
LACO's core "Orchestral Series" features eight programs, each with back-to-back performances at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and UCLA's Royce Hall. The series showcases LACO's remarkable artistry and trademark mix of orchestral masterpieces and new works from today's leading composers, as well as the much-admired collaborative style between LACO artists. Passionate, joyous and engaging, the series features a range of exceptional guest artists and conductors.
Joshua Bell Plays Bernstein. LACO's 2017-18 season-opening program launches the Orchestra's 50th Anniversary season and helps kick off Leonard Bernstein's centennial with acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell performing Bernstein's lyrical Serenade (after Plato's Symposium) for violin and orchestra inspired by Plato's text on love, led by guest conductor Jaime Martín in his LACO debut. Martín also conducts Brahms' Serenade No. 1 in D Major, noted for its prominent horn section and remarkable symphonic quality, and Mozart's Overture to the opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio. Bell, one of the most celebrated violinists of his era and recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, has recorded more than 40 CDs, garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards. Named music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold the post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. Bell last appeared with LACO in 2000. Martín, a prominent flautist turned conductor, is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Orquestra de Cadaqués and Artistic Director of the Santander International Festival. (Saturday, September 30, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, October 1, 2017, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Mozart In Focus: Symphony No. 40. Guest Conductor Peter Oundjian, in his second LACO appearance, leads the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Andrew Norman's Violin Concerto, a LACO commission written for and featuring Jennifer Koh, recognized for her commanding performances and technical virtuosity. The program opens with the Suite from Stravinsky's ballet Pulcinella, highlighting LACO Principal Trumpet David Washburn, and includes Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, one of the three final Mozart symphonies LACO is performing this season as part of "Mozart In Focus." Oundjian the "consistently illuminating" (Gramophone) music director of both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Royal National Orchestra in Scotland, made his LACO debut in 2015. Norman's work, he says, "is inspired directly by Jenny Koh and the relationship I have with her as a friend and collaborator." Koh is LACO's Guest Artist-in-Residence for the fall, participating in masterclasses, community engagement and free public performances, along with her concert appearances. Named Musical America's 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year and winner of the 1994 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Koh has premiered more than 60 works written for her and is "one of our most thoughtful and intense musicians" (The New York Times). (Saturday, October 14, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, October 15, 2017, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Bach's Brandenburgs! Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs the complete cycle of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos led from the first chair by esteemed LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and featuring special guest Mahan Esfahani on harpsichord in his Orchestral Series debut. The Brandenburg Concertos remain evergreen and present an opportunity to showcase the immense talents of many of LACO's virtuoso principals, notably newly appointed principal flute Joachim Becerra Thomsen and newly appointed principal oboe Claire Brazeau. This LACO-signature repertoire has previously been performed by the Orchestra an astonishing 52 times, more often than any other work in its repertoire. (Saturday, December 9, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, December 10, 2017, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Midweek Mozart (Mozart In Focus: Symphony No. 41). LACO's 50th Anniversary season continues with eminent 93-year-old pianist Menahem Pressler, "a National Treasure" (Los Angeles Times), performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major under the baton of guest conductor Thomas Dausgaard in his second LACO appearance in two seasons. Dausgaard, Principal Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Chief Conductor Designate of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Seattle Symphony, also conducts Brahms' Selected Dances and Mozart's Symphony No. 41 in C Major, "Jupiter," the composer's final and longest symphony. The latter is the second of LACO's three "Mozart In Focus" performances this season. Pressler, founding member and pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, has established himself among the world's most distinguished and honored musicians with a career that spans almost six decades. Now, in his ninth decade, he continues to captivate audiences throughout the world as performer and pedagogue, performing to great critical acclaim while maintaining a dedicated and robust teaching career. This is his LACO solo debut. (Tuesday, January 30, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Regal Classics. Highlighting works from across the pond, LACO presents a London-themed program with "superb" and much sought-after Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd leading British tenor Toby Spence in Britten's exquisite Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, a song cycle set to poems on the subject of night. The evenings include a world premiere by LACO Sound Investment composer Ellen Reid, hailed for "radiant" work (The New Yorker) that "brims with canny invention" (LA Weekly). As LACO continues its multi-year exploration of Haydn's 12 London Symphonies, the program also features his last one, Symphony No. 104, "London." Composed between 1791 and 1795, these works are among the cornerstones of the chamber music repertoire. Boyd, acclaimed for his vibrant conducting style, was a founding member and principal oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 21 years before turning to conducting in 2002. He served as Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and made his LACO conducting debut in 2014. Spence, one of the finest lyric tenors of his generation and recipient of the 2011 Royal Philharmonic Society's "Singer of the Year" award, has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, the English National Opera and the Paris Opera, among others, and appeared with the Berlin, Vienna, Rotterdam and Los Angeles Philharmonics and well as the Cleveland Orchestra. LACO commissioned Reid as part of its singular and highly successful "Sound Investment" commissioning program that engages LACO audiences in developing new works. It gives members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music and observe first-hand the development of a new work from the composer's earliest ideas to the finished composition. Participants invest $300 or more for a membership, which includes intimate salons throughout the season featuring in-depth discussion with the composer about the creative process and previews of the final work. (Saturday, February 24, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, February 25, 2018, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Kahane Returns! Jeffrey Kahane, who steps down as LACO Music Director in June 2017 after a 20-year tenure, makes his first appearance in his new role as the Orchestra's Conductor Laureate with the West Coast premiere of Pierre Jalbert's Violin Concerto, featuring LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. A co-commission by LACO, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Orchestra, Jalbert's work was written specifically for the three orchestras' concertmasters. Kahane also conducts Respighi's Three Botticelli Pictures, a vivid aural impression of three of the Renaissance master's famous paintings, and continues LACOs multi-year exploration of Haydn's famed 12 London symphonies with Symphony No. 99 in E-Flat Major, the seventh in the sequence. (Saturday, March 17, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, March 18, 2018, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Beethoven! Guest conductor Karina Canellakis, winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, makes her third LACO appearance since 2015 in a program featuring Dai Fujikura's Secret Forest, Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D Major, and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor performed by David Fray, a "gifted pianist" (Chicago Tribune). Fujikura's work has been described as "a riot of imaginative bird and insect noise - a private utopia well worth exploring" (The Guardian). Canellakis received glowing critical praise for her performances since first making headlines in 2014 filling in last-minute for Jaap van Zweden with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's 8th symphony. She made her European conducting debut last June with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and served for two seasons through 2015-16 as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony, during which time she conducted over 60 performances with the orchestra. Fray, heralded for his "exquisite, imaginative, and virtuosic" performances (Epoch Times), was BBC Music Magazine's 2008 "Newcomer of the Year" and is the subject of the documentary Swing, Sing and Think. (Saturday, April 21, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, April 22, 2018, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Season Finale! (Mozart In Focus: Symphony No. 39). LACO's 50th Anniversary season concludes poignantly with a conductor-less program spotlighting the Orchestra itself that includes Vivaldi's Concerto Grosso in D Minor, the first work ever performed by LACO 50 years ago. "LACO has a rich history of presenting conductor-less programs," says Harrison, "which is a testament to the leadership displayed by our 40 virtuoso resident musicians and the depth of their artistic interaction." The Orchestra also performs Derrick Spiva's From Here A Path, the second part of a trilogy for chamber orchestra inspired by LACO, and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, featuring the US orchestral debut of teenage British cello virtuoso Sheku Kanneh-Mason, named BBC's 2016 Young Musician of the Year. The first black musician to win the award since its inception, he has been compared to a young Jacqueline du Pre and recently signed a recording contract with Decca. The final work on the program is Mozart's Symphony No. 39 in E-Flat Major, which also wraps "Mozart In Focus," LACO's exploration this season of the composer's final three symphonies. (Saturday, May 19, 8 pm, Alex Theatre, Glendale; Sunday, May 20, 2018, 7 pm, UCLA's Royce Hall)
Harpsichord virtuoso Mahan Esfahani continues as LACO's Baroque Artistic Partner through the 2018-19 season. Artists curating and hosting performances for the enlightening five-concert Baroque Conversations series, held at The Colburn School's Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles, are LACO Principal Cello Andrew Shulman (November 2, 2017); Principal Trumpet David Washburn, leading a brass and organ program (date to be announced); guest conductor Riccardo Minasi, who conducts the music of Pergolesi (March 1, 2018); Esfahani (March 22, 2018); and guest conductor Harry Bicket (April 26, 2018). The series spotlights repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period. In signature LACO style, the artists share their insights into the music and invite questions from the audience to provide patrons with 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 program begins with a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception. (Thursdays, November 2, 2017, and January date to be announced, March 1 and 22, and April 26, 2018, 7:30 pm, Zipper Hall, downtown Los Angeles)
MUSIC + DANCE
LACO's trademark "Music +" (formerly "Westside Connections"), curated by Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, is designed to illustrate the myriad ways music is woven into society and our lives. During the 2017-18 season, the three-concert chamber music and discussion series continues to step outside the proverbial "music box" by focusing this season on a thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between dance and music, featuring chamber works to complement presentations of special guests. For the first time, concerts will be repeated at a new San Gabriel Valley venue to be announced, considerably expanding the Orchestra's reach, in addition to taking place at the intimate state-of-the-art 335-seat Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica. In previous seasons, "Music +" has explored associations between music and such disparate topics as the mind, architecture, the culinary arts and poetry. (dates, programs and San Gabriel Valley venue to be announced, and Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at The Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Roads School, Santa Monica)
LACO À LA CARTE
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra offers music lovers an opportunity to enjoy five intimate, elegant and entertaining "LACO à la carte" fundraising events, which illustrate that music truly knows no boundaries by pairing delectable international cuisine and exclusive salon musical performances by LACO musicians and guest artists in spectacular private residences of the consul general corps. "LACO à la carte" is chaired by LACO board member Mahnaz Newman. (dates, locations and programs to be announced)
LACO ANNUAL CONCERT GALA
LACO's annual concert gala celebrates the Orchestra's 50th Anniversary season with a special concert, silent and live auctions and a sumptuous dinner. (date, location to be announced)
LACO COMMUNITY PROGRAMS REACH THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE
Nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music are integral to LACO's mission. Through its "Meet the Music," "Community Partners," "LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program" and master classes and school visits with LACO Composer-in-Residence Andrew Norman and guest artists-in-residence Jennifer Koh, Mahan Esfahani and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the Orchestra reaches thousands of young people annually. LACO musicians also perform side-by-side with Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), deepening the Orchestra's commitment with that training organization, which seeks to introduce inner-city youth to the life-affirming power of music.
For a free season flyer, additional information about Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's 2017-18 season or to order tickets, call 213 622 7001, or visit www.laco.org.