Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) Music Director Jeffrey Kahane conducts the world premiere of This Ease by composer Hannah Lash as well as the LACO debut of Natasha Paremski, proclaimed a “spectacular pianist” (American Record Guide), performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, on Saturday, April 26, 8 pm, at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, and Sunday, April 27, 2014, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Also on the program is Haydn’s buoyant Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major. USC Thornton School of Music violin performance major Kenneth Liao, winner of the annual LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Audition, joins LACO’s violin section for these concerts.
Lash, whose work is hailed as “striking” and “handsomely brooding” (The New York Times), says, “This Ease is meant to suggest the feeling of familiarity with what we are hearing, yet invoke the underlying unease that allows for the piece’s forward motion and unique fingerprint. The musical material at its most elemental is comprised of major and minor thirds chained and stacked together in various ways, which gradually mutate to highlight different harmonic colors and create the piece’s dramatic formal shape.”
This Ease is presented as part of the LACO’s unique “Sound Investment” commissioning program, initiated 13 years ago to engage audiences in developing new works. The program gives members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music and to observe first-hand the development of a new work from the composer’s earliest ideas to the finished composition. Participants invest $150 or more for a membership, which includes intimate salons throughout the season featuring in-depth discussions with the composer about his or her creative process and previews of the final work.
Paremski, praised for her “beautifully atmospheric interpretations” (The New York Times) is a 26-year-old Russian-born virtuoso who made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at age 15. Critics have hailed dynamic performances and flawless technique.
As part of the LACO-Thornton Strings Mentorship Program in a 2013 mock orchestral audition for strings, Thornton School strings undergraduate Kenneth Liao, a violinist, won the opportunity to play alongside LACO veterans at LACO’s April concerts. He will perform as part of LACO’s first violin section and is being mentored for this opportunity by LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. The program, a unique collaboration now in its fourth year between USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, underscores the importance of preparedness of strings students for professional auditions. Liao competed against violists, cellists, double bass players and fellow violinists before an esteemed panel of judges including LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, LACO Principal Viola Roland Kato and LACO Associate Principal Cello Armen Ksajikian.
Concert Preludes, pre-concert talks held one hour before curtain and free for ticket holders, provide insights into the music and artists with Kahane interviewing Lash about her new piece.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions. Its 2013-14 season, the Orchestra’s 45th, features a compelling mix of beloved masterpieces and genre-defying premieres from firmly established as well as notable up-and-coming composers programmed by Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists, who marks his 17th season as LACO’s music director.
Tickets, starting at $25, are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. College students may purchase student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, at the box office the day of the concert. Also available for college students is the $25 “Campus to Concert Hall All Access Pass” – good for all seven of LACO’s Orchestral series concerts, Discover Beethoven’s Eroica and three Westside Connections concerts.