Culture Clash satirist/comedian Richard Montoya explores the controversial history of Chavez Ravine at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) WESTSIDE CONNECTIONS chamber music series on Thursday, April 3, 2014, 7:30 pm, at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica. The three-part series, with “LA Influential” as this year’s thematic twist, examines the impact our diverse city has had on arts and culture through the eyes of distinguished guest artists and speakers. LACO Concertmaster and series curator Margaret Batjer has programmed evenings that showcase the virtuosic artistry of LACO musicians in chamber masterpieces, reflecting the compelling LA connections and inspirations that have deeply influenced the series’ special guests.
Providing a thought-provoking musical context for Montoya’s penetrating political and cultural musings, LACO artists perform Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12, “American”; String Quartet by mercurial Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, and two works by Revueltas’s contemporary, Carlos Chávez, a cultural force who synthesized elements of Mexican, Indian and Spanish-Mexican influence in his Trio for Harp, Flute and Viola; and Sonatina for Violin and Piano.
Montoya, who calls himself a “Chicano” and draws on real-life experiences, has been addressing racial issues with humor and satire with the performance troupe Culture Class since 1984. Critics proclaim, “His thought-provoking performances…have cracked up audiences, and changed some minds” (National Public Radio) with their “deadly serious message” (The New York Times). Having lived in Los Angeles for more than two decades, Montoya says, “There’s a constant soundtrack, always in my head. Music has inspired me and comforted me (because) to be a political artist is kind of a lonely thing.”
Westside Connections, now in its sixth season, concludes on May 15 with John Rubinstein, the prolific film, stage and television artist who is the son of legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein. The series opener in February featured Arnold Steinhart, acclaimed first violin of the illustrious Guarneri Quartet.
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 and 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 (beginning at $50) are available online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Student rush tickets ($10), based on availability, may be purchased at the box office one hour before the concert. Also available for college students is the $25 “Campus to Concert Hall All Access Pass” – good for LACO’s three Westside Connections concerts at the Moss Theater, seven Orchestral Series concerts at either the Alex Theatre or UCLA’s Royce Hall and Discover Beethoven’s Eroica at Ambassador Auditorium. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for groups of 12 or more. The Moss Theater at New Roads School is located at 3131 Olympic Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA, 90404.