Award-winning author Jane Hamilton adds her unique literary voice to the second program in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) three-concert “Westside Connections” series, which this season pairs novelists and musicians for a fascinating exploration of the relationship between “Music & Story,” on Thursday, March 7, 7:30 pm, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Hamilton joins guest soprano Stacey Tappan and LACO artists as they explore music in which composers reveal their own stories. LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, currently celebrating her 15th anniversary with the Orchestra, curates and hosts the series, which showcases the virtuoso talent of LACO musicians and illustrates the myriad ways music touches other artistic disciplines, society and our lives.
Hamilton’s international bestsellers include The Book of Ruth, recipient of the PEN/ Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and selected for the prestigious Oprah’s Book Club, and A Map of the World. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hamilton is “among the major writers of our time.” Critics have hailed her as “a daring writer” (New York Daily News), “superb” (The Washington Post), “one of our most magnetic and provocative novelists” (Chicago Sun Times), “a writer of rare power and discipline” (Newsweek) and an “original voice in fiction and one well worth listening to” (Boston Sunday Globe.)
Along with Hamilton’s insightful commentary, the concert features Brahms’s exotic and innovative G major Sextet, in which the composer used both rhythm and musical notation to evoke the name of Agathe von Siebold, with whom he was infatuated at the time. It is juxtaposed with Osvaldo Golijov’s multi-layered Tenebrae. Known for his musical diversity, the Grammy Award-winning composer notes Tenebrae can be “listened to from different perspectives… if one chooses to listen to it ‘from afar,’ the music would probably offer a ‘beautiful’ surface but, from a metaphorically closer distance, one could hear that, beneath that surface, the music is full of pain.”
In addition to Batjer, LACO artists featured are Roland Kato, principal viola, and Victoria Miskolczy, associate principal viola; Andrew Shulman, principal cello; Joshua Ranz, principal clarinet; Jennifer Munday, Joel Pargman and Susan Rishik, violins; Robert Brophy, viola; and Giovanna M. Clayton and Trevor Handy, cellos.
“Westside Connections” concludes on April 15, 2013, with author Mona Simpson, whose 2011 novel My Hollywood features a Santa Monica-based classical composer as the protagonist. At this third and final concert in the 2012-13 series, Simpson lends her insights when LACO artists perform two works that share a literary connection, Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1 inspired by Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, which in turn took its inspiration from Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Violin Sonata.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the nation’s premier orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2012-13 season, the Orchestra’s 44th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established and notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 16th season as LACO’s music director.
“Westside Connections” tickets ($50) 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.