LACO Sets Table for Foodies and Classical Music Lovers
As Concertmaster/Curator Margaret Batjer Serves Up Three-Concert Series
at Santa Monica’s The Broad Stage

Michael Ruhlman and Music of Rossini, Puccini, Falla and Schoenfield
Thursday March 1, 2012, 7:30 pm

Jonathan Gold and
Music of Bach, Bernstein, William Bolcom, Timothy Andres and Dohnányi
Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:30 pm

Susan Feniger and Music of Saint-Saëns, Martinů and Ravel
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) steps outside the proverbial music “box” to dish up a feast for foodies and classical music lovers alike at its innovative “Westside Connections” chamber music series with a menu that pairs LACO’s virtuosic musicians with iconic food writer JONATHAN GOLD, multi-talented chef/restaurateur SUSAN FENIGER and leading culinary writer, chef and food philosopher MICHAEL RUHLMAN for an always tantalizing and frequently amusing exploration of the relationship between music and culinary arts at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. Showcased on the menu for the three-concert Thursday-night series, curated by LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, are the virtuoso talent of LACO’s musicians and conversations with Gold, Feniger and Ruhlman, who discuss the food-themed music as well as the talent, techniques and artistic expression involved in gastronomy. Each evening includes an opportunity for audience questions.

“Good food and good music are a natural pairing,” says Batjer. “LACO is delighted to present these stellar culinary celebrities as we explore in these whimsical and informative programs the many ways music influences and enriches society and our lives.”

“Westside Connections” begins Thursday, March 1, 2012, 7:30 p.m., with noted culinary authority Michael Ruhlman (Soul of a Chef, Ruhlman’s Twenty) and music of Rossini, Puccini, Falla and Paul Schoenfield. On Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:30 p.m, iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold joins a program with music by Bach, Bernstein, William Bolcom, Timothy Andres and Dohnányi. “Westside Connections’” final “course” on Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:30 pm, features celebrated chef, cookbook author and restaurateur Susan Feniger (Border Grill restaurants, Border Grill Truck and Susan Feniger’s STREET) and the music of Saint-Saëns, Martinů and Ravel. Now in its 4th season, the “Westside Connections” series has previously explored the effects of music on the mind, poetry and the creative process.

Thursday, March 1, 2012, 7:30 pm
Michael Ruhlman, special guest

ROSSINI String Sonata No. 1 in G major
PUCCINI Crisantemi (“Chrysanthemums”)
FALLA Suite Populaire Espagnole (arr. for Violin and Piano from “Popular
Spanish Songs” by Kochanski)

“Westside Connections” launches on Thursday, March 1, 2012, 7:30 pm, moderated by leading culinary authority and food writer Michael Ruhlman. The program tempts with a variety of musical tastes and textures: Spanish spice from Falla, a confectionary delight from Rossini and Puccini’s dark-hued elegy featuring two melodies the composer later incorporated into his opera Manon Lescaut. Concluding the evening is Schoenfield’s Café Music, inspired by the contemporary composer’s one-time employment as house pianist at a steakhouse. According to music writer John Windh, the work is “a tongue-in-cheek musical goulash with a little of everything thrown in…kneejerk surprises, witty musical jokes, burlesque, sly twists, some Charles Ives, counterpoint, dazzling string writing, Gershwin, Broadway melody, Gypsy scales and bouncy rhythms…at times languid and sentimental, other times madcap.” Ruhlman, whose recently released book Ruhlman’s Twenty: The Ideas and Techniques that Will Make You a Better Cook was praised by the Los Angeles Times as “masterful,” has authored the popular culinary Chef series The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and The Reach of a Chef. More recent books include The Elements of Cooking, a handy food glossary, and Ratio. He has also co-authored with top US chefs cookbooks such as The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc with Thomas Keller, A Return to Cooking with Eric Ripert, Charcuterie with Brian Polcyn, and Symon Says: Live to Cook with Michael Symon. Ruhlman has appeared on Travel Channel’s popular show No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and PBS’ Cooking Under Fire, and has also served as a judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef.

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:30 pm
Jonathan Gold, special guest
Elissa Johnston, soprano

BACH “Ich esse mit Freuden” (“I eat with joy”), from Cantata No. 84
BERNSTEIN La Bonne Cuisine – Four Recipes for Voice and Piano
WILLIAM BOLCOM Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise
DOHNÁNYI Sextet in C major for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet and Horn, Op. 37

Iconic LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold, the first to win a Pulitzer Prize in food criticism, joins LACO’s second “Westside Connections” evening, which also features soprano Elissa Johnston, on Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:30 pm. The artfully designed musical feast spotlights Bernstein’s La Bonne Cuisine, which includes recipes for Plum Pudding and Oxtail from Madame Saint-Ange’s famous 1927 cookbook, complete with the composer’s instruction in the fine art of preparing French delicacies, and Bolcom’s hilarious Surprise, with some rather unique ingredients. Timothy Andres’ Sorbet cleanses the palate before the main course: the virtuosic Sextet written by Dohnányi in the tradition of Brahms and showcasing the unusual instrumentation of piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet and horn. Gold’s signature reviews of ethnic restaurants throughout Southland neighborhoods, as well as his coverage of all types of cuisine in Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine and Gourmet, among many other high-profile publications, have earned him widespread acclaim and a vast following. A collection of his articles is featured in his book, Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. The program also features LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane on piano.

Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:30 pm,
Susan Feniger, special guest

SAINT-SAËNS Fantaisie for Violin and Harp, Op. 124
MARTINU La Revue de Cuisine, Jazz suite for Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Cello and Piano, H. 161
RAVEL String Quartet in F major

“Westside Connections” concludes Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:30 pm, with special guest Susan Feniger, who adds her unique stamp to a program featuring Saint-Saëns’ 1907 Fantasie, a delicious aperitif to Martinů’s 1927 La Revue de Cuisine, which portrays a witty pop, Charleston and ragtime-cum-tango farce about cooking utensils, pots and lids. The entrée is Ravel’s 1903 masterpiece, String Quartet in F major. Feniger’s passion for food and genuine love for the authentic flavors of street and home cooking have propelled her wildly successful career as chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and radio/TV personality. She is co-chef/owner of the Border Grill restaurants and Border Grill Truck (with business partner, chef Mary Sue Milliken), owner of Susan Feniger’s STREET and veteran of Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales. Feniger has also co-authored five cookbooks including City Cuisine, Mesa Mexicana and Cooking with Too Hot Tamales. After a recent stint on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, she was a featured chef at the US Open and cooked for the Real Housewives of Orange County.

Westside Connections is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. These concerts are also sponsored by the Faucett Family Foundation, Ann Moore Mulally, A Friend of LACO and K. Eugene Shutler.

“Westside Connections” tickets ($45 per concert or $120 for a 3-concert subscription) 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, CA, 90401.

Comments are closed.