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Three World Premiers And Timeless Masterpieces Highlight Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2015-16 Season

Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, marks his 19th season as the Orchestra’s music director.
Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, marks his 19th season as the Orchestra’s music director.

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 its 2015-16 season, led by Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, featuring a mix of timeless masterpieces and genre-defying world premieres by Music Alive: New Partnerships Composer-in-Residence Derrick Spiva, Gernot Wolfgang, and LACO 2016 Sound Investment Composer Matthew Aucoin; a West Coast premiere by Timo Andres; and a Los Angeles premiere by Mason Bates.

LACO also presents a range of internationally acclaimed and rising guest artists and virtuosic LACO principals who appear on seven “Orchestral Series” programs, a “Discover” concert, five “Baroque Conversations” concerts and three “Westside Connections” evenings.  Other season highlights include five “LACO à la carte” fundraising salons pairing international cuisine with exclusive musical performances in spectacular international residences and LACO’s annual concert gala as well as partnerships with the contemporary classical music ensemble and LACO Education-Artists-in-Residence wild Up, and LACO Composer-In-Residence Andrew Norman.  Among the featured artists, many in their LACO debuts, are guest conductors Peter Oundjian, music director, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Matthias Pintscher, music director, France’s Ensemble Intercontemporain; and Matthew Halls, artistic director, Oregon Bach Festival; and guest artists Michael Barenboim, violin, in his West Coast debut; Richard Goode, piano; Joshua Roman, cello; Marc-André Hamelin, piano; Stefan Jackiw, violin, in his Los Angeles debut; Teresa Wakim, soprano; Colin Ainsworth, tenor; Andrew Craig Brown, bass; USC Thornton Chamber Singers; and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.

LACO Principals Wade Culbreath, timpani/percussion; Joshua Ranz, clarinet; David Shostac, flute; Allan Vogel, oboe; Kenneth Munday, bassoon; and recently retired LACO Principal Horn Richard Todd, are also spotlighted.  LACO performs its “Orchestral Series” on Saturdays at the Alex Theatre in Glendale and on Sundays at UCLA’s Royce Hall; its “Discover” concert at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium; “Baroque Conversations,” which spotlights repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period, with four concerts at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles and the final performance at USC’s Bovard Auditorium; and “Westside Connections,” designed to illustrate the connections between music and other aspects of our lives, at the state-of-the-art Moss Theater in Santa Monica.

Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, marks his 19th season as the Orchestra’s music director.  Hailed by critics, Kahane, who continues his artistic leadership through the 2016-17 season, conducts four of seven “Orchestral Series” concerts from the podium or keyboard, serves as conductor and musical tour guide of the popular “Discover” concert at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium and appears on the “Baroque Conversations” and “Westside Connections” series.

He conducts the world premieres of Spiva’s Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, a joyous percussive work influenced by traditional West African drumming that opens the season; Wolfgang’s Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds, showcasing LACO Principals Shostac, flute, Vogel, oboe, Munday, bassoon and Todd, horn; and a new work by Matthew Aucoin, a gifted composer, poet and the Metropolitan Opera’s youngest-ever assistant conductor who is “one of the most sought-after young voices in classical music” (The Wall St. Journal).  Aucoin’s piece, which he is conducting himself, is presented in conjunction with the Orchestra’s unique and highly successful “Sound Investment” commissioning program, initiated during Kahane’s tenure 15 years ago to engage LACO audiences in developing new works.  “Sound Investment” gives members not only the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music but also to 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.

Additionally, Kahane leads the West Coast premiere of Brooklyn-based composer Timo Andres’s Word of Mouth on a program that also features LACO Principal Timpani/Percussion Wade Culbreath performing Emmanuel Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings.  He conducts from the keyboard Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, one of three of Mozart’s “Golden Period” piano concertos being presented this season, and leads LACO’s popular annual “Discover” concert, providing an in-depth examination of the creation and significance of Bach’s popular Cantata No. 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,” (“Sleepers Awake”).

Guest conductors making their LACO debuts include German conductor Matthias Pintscher, heralded “for making the creative process behind music come to life” (Ottawa Citizen), presenting a program of Beethoven, Ravel and Schoenberg, and “consistently illuminating” (Gramophone) conductor Peter Oundijian, who leads Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, featuring the Los Angeles debut of Stefan Jackiw, a “heart-stopping” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) violinist, YouTube sensation and “legend in the making” (Chicago Tribune).  Guest conductor Matthew Halls, heralded for his “ironclad command” (Toronto Star), makes his third LACO appearance, leading the Los Angeles premiere of Mason Bates’s Cello Concerto, written for and performed by Joshua Roman, “a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts” (San Francisco Chronicle), in his LACO debut.

Among other featured artists presented this season, Michael Barenboim, a “superb” violinist (Chicago Tribune) hailed for his “technical precision and a breezy sweetness” (The Guardian) and son of legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim, makes his highly anticipated West Coast debut performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, considered one of the supreme achievements in classical music.  Also making their LACO debuts are Richard Goode, an “unforgettable” pianist with “keen imagination, intelligence and sensitivity” (Washington Post), featured on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major, K. 456; and piano “avatar” Marc-André Hamelin, whose “legend will grow…there is no one like him” (The New Yorker), showcased on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453.

Kahane, Roman, Munday and Iranian-born harpsichord virtuoso Mahan Esfahani curate and host performances of LACO’s enlightening five-concert “Baroque Conversations” series, of which the first four programs are at downtown LA’s Zipper Hall.  The series finale, a program of cello concertos at USC’s Bovard Auditorium, is a featured event in the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, a 10-day cello extravaganza co-hosted by LACO, USC and the LA Phil featuring 25 international artists representing 15 countries and four continents.  “Baroque Conversations” concerts spotlight 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, which provides audiences 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.

LACO’s innovative “Westside Connections” series at the state-of-the-art Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica continues to step outside the proverbial “music box” with a thought-provoking exploration of connections between music and the mind, revisiting a fascinating topic the Orchestra examined five years ago to further examine and also shed light on rapid advancements in neuroscience.  The inter-disciplinary, three-concert chamber music series, designed to illustrate the myriad ways music is woven into society and our lives, is curated by Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, who selects chamber works to complement the presentations of the special guests.  In previous seasons, Westside Connections has explored the connections between music and such disparate topics as architecture, poetry, the culinary arts, stories and the influences of Los Angeles on creativity.

The Orchestra also hosts several musical fundraisers, including LACO’s annual “Concert Gala” and five “LACO à la carte” salons pairing delectable international cuisine and exclusive musical performances by LACO artists in spectacular international residences.

Three LACO musicians mark major tenure milestones this season, including Principal Bassoon Kenneth Munday (40 years), Associate Principal Cello Armen Ksajikian (15 years), and Violin I Julie Gigante (30 years).

LACO embarks on its fourth season as the Orchestra-in-Residence of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and continues as a partner in the “LACO-USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program” for the sixth consecutive year, in which selected Thornton students participate in a mock audition with the possibility of winning a guest musician slot for a LACO concert, enhancing preparedness of strings students for a professional career.

Contemporary classical music ensemble wild Up marks the second of a three-year residency as LACO Education-Artists-in-Residence, participating in the Orchestra’s “Meet the Music” performances for 3,200 LAUSD Elementary school students annually. These performances reach younger students on a fundamental level through four live programs at professional concert halls, funded by LACO, often including student transportation.

LACO recognizes the generous support of Jerry and Terri Kohl and two anonymous donors for major contributions that further strengthen the Orchestra’s fiscal standing, and ensure its continued artistic advancement and key role in the community; Carol and Warner Henry for “Baroque Conversations”; The Colburn Foundation; and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  The Orchestra also receives public funding via grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

The residency of Derrick Spiva is made possible through Music Alive: New Partnerships, a residency program of New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.  This national program is designed to establish new relationships between composers and orchestras, and to help orchestras present new music to the public and build support for new music within their institutions.  Leadership funding for Music Alive is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund.

 

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