Posts Tagged “Downtown Los Angeles”

Adding a final flourish to the holiday season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, presents two concerts of Handel’s Messiah on Wednesday, December 17, 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 21, 2014, 7 pm, at Disney Hall. Featuring 40 members of the acclaimed chorus, orchestra and four gifted soloists from the Chorale’s ranks, the concert provides the opportunity to hear this riveting oratorio – rich with soaring high notes, powerful bass, majestic brass and lush orchestrations – performed by what many critics consider to be the best chorus in the country. The soloists are Christina Bristow, soprano; Niké St. Clair, mezzo soprano; Arnold Livingston Geis, tenor; and Chung Uk Lee, baritone. Composed in a mere 24 days, Handel’s 1741 English-language oratorio continues to be the composer’s most popular work and may be the most performed classical work of all time.

“Handel’s Messiah is the ultimate musical stocking stuffer,” says Gershon. “It is universally beloved and is thrilling to conduct, especially in Disney Hall with its unparalleled acoustics.”

The Messiah concerts are the last of four holiday programs presented by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall in December. The choir’s other seasonal offerings include the 34th Annual “Messiah Sing-Along,” December 7, 7 pm; “Festival of Carols,” December 13, 2 pm; and “Rejoice: A Cappella Christmas,” December 14, 7 pm.

Tickets range from $29 – $129. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Master Chorale

Los Angeles Master Chorale

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Los Angeles Master Chorale Launches 51st Season

Los Angeles Master Chorale Launches 51st Season


The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, launches the 2014|15 season, its 51st, with a spectacular multi-faceted cinematic and aural event featuring the Walt Disney Concert Hall premiere of Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 work Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, inspired by and performed live to the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. Einhorn’s evocative piece, written for orchestra, chorus and soloists, provides a haunting backdrop to the rarely seen restored version of Carl Dreyer’s cinematic masterpiece, considered by many critics to be among the top films ever made.

Thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, a single print of the film was discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, which “was digitally restored to pristine condition with 20,320 individual changes” (Bright Lights Film Journal).

“Richard Einhorn’s score to The Passion of Joan of Arc creates a unique and powerful concert experience,” says Gershon. “It seems particularly fitting to present this intense and influential film in the movie capital of the world.”

The film, based on the actual 15th century transcripts of St. Joan’s trial for heresy, portrays her trial and execution. Dressed as a boy, she led French troops in a defeat against British occupiers during the Hundred Years’ War, but was later captured and tried by French clergy loyal to the British and condemned to death by burning at the stake for her belief that she was spurred to action by religious visions. Of actress Renee Maria Falconetti’s role as Joan of Arc, renowned film critic Pauline Kael declared, “It may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”

Previously performed to sold-out audiences at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap, among other venues, Einhorn’s music “beautifully accompanies the film” (Time) providing “an overwhelming experience” (Chicago Tribune) that is “timeless in its appeal” (Grand Rapids Press) and “cannot soon be forgotten” (Washington Post).

The concert is sponsored in part by The Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.

Tickets range from $29 – $129. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.

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Cuatro_Corridos-May-6-2013-291

On Friday, August 8, 2014, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) will present Cuatro Corridos, a chamber opera addressing one of the most critical human rights issues of our time: human trafficking. Based on true events, the one-hour production tells the stories of women trapped in a cycle of prostitution and slavery in and around the San Diego/Tijuana border region and represents an unprecedented collaboration between internationally acclaimed Mexican and US-based creative artists.

The benefit event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Ticket price for the benefit is $100 and includes general admission to the performance and to the post performance reception.  $75 of the ticket price is a tax-deductible contribution to LAFLA and will help support its services to victims of human trafficking who are forced to work in the sex trade, sweatshops, fields and even private homes under exploitative and abusive conditions and for meager or non-existent wages.

Celebrating its 85th anniversary as Los Angeles’ frontline law firm for poor and low-income people and communities, LAFLA’s services include a range of specialized legal services to aid and empower human trafficking victims to escape exploitation and pursue their legal rights. LAFLA’s Executive Director Silvia R. Argueta says of the event, “We feel that Cuatro Corridos is a beautiful, engaging, and innovative way for LAFLA to draw attention to this critical issue and rally support to help fight against this form of modern-day slavery and a humanitarian crisis that affects those most vulnerable among us.”

Led by Grammy Award winning soprano Susan Narucki and noted Mexican author Jorge Volpi, Cuatro Corridos features original music by composers Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hebert Vázquez. Three distinguished performers of new music, percussionist Ayano Kataoka, pianist Aleck Karis, and guitarist Pablo Gomez, accompany Narucki in sharing the compelling stories of four women whose lives are scarred by human trafficking.

Cuatro Corridos had its first performance at the Conrad Prebys Music Center at the University of California, San Diego in May, 2013, with subsequent performances in Tijuana, Dallas, and Albuquerque. The innovative project seeks to heighten public awareness about human trafficking by offering public forums in conjunction with performances. Cuatro Corridos has been the recipient of support from the MAP Fund for the Performing Arts/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, UC MEXUS, and most recently, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite.com

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The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) concludes its year long 50th Anniversary Season celebration on Sunday, June 8, 2014, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with “Today, Tomorrow & Beyond,” a forward-looking program conducted by Music Director Grant Gershon featuring the world premieres of three works commissioned by the acclaimed choir in honor of its 50th jubilee. They include Iri da iri (“Rainbow by rainbow”), a piece commissioned by the singers themselves from eminent composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, with whom the Chorale has shared a rich history both in his capacity as a composer and Conductor Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the national anthems, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, which features the masterful Calder Quartet; and Inscapes by LAMC Swan Family Composer in Residence Shawn Kirchner. The Chorale, joined by the 80-member LAMC High School Choir Festival Honor Choir, reprises Es Tu Tiempo by MacArthur Fellow Francisco Núñez led by the composer himself. Additionally, the Chorale reprises Gabriela Lena Frank’s Los Cantores de las Montañas (“The Singing Mountaineers”) performed with the innovative Latin American folk ensemble Huayucaltia and conducted by Associate Conductor Lesley Leighton. It was premiered by the Chorale in April 2012 and is the fifth work in the LAMC’s highly regarded LA is the World commissioning project, conceived by Gershon as a collaboration among American composers, master musicians and the choir to expand the choral repertoire with works that mirror LA’s vibrant multi-cultural fabric.

Salonen’s new work, Iri da iri, for a cappella chorus, is based on Dante’s Paradiso, the final section of Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy. Drawn to the universal perspective in the poem’s conclusion, Salonen says, “It goes beyond the religious. At the end Dante has to admit that the only thing he knows is that love is what makes the planets and stars, the whole cosmos work.” Salonen took musical cues from the poem’s meter and three-line stanzas, which provided an inherent structure at times linear and others “densely contrapuntal.” He also says that, given his strong ties with Gershon and the Chorale, the commission, “is very personal for me — more so than usual.” The Chorale has sung under Salonen’s baton in more than 200 concerts. Additionally, the Chorale gave the US premiere of his choral works Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund (later retitled Two Songs from Kalendar Röd), of which the chorus also made the world premiere recording (RCM 2003) that earned a coveted four-star rating from the Philadelphia Inquirer and was hailed by critics as “razor sharp” (Daily News) and “ethereal and impelling” (Los Angeles Times).

Lang has set the national anthems to excerpts from national anthems worldwide. He describes the piece, composed for a large choir and string quartet, as a “meta-anthem of all the hopes and dreams that everyone in the world has in common.” With its range of just over one octave – consistent with the range of most anthems for relative ease of singing – Lang says it is “something that everyone can conceivably sing, from start to finish.” The piece was commissioned through the generous support of Lenore and Bernard Greenberg. The Calder Quartet, which is featured on this work, has been hailed as “superb” (The New York Times) and “one of America’s most satisfying – and most enterprising – quartets” (Los Angeles Times). Winner of the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock, and visual arts; and in venues ranging from art galleries and rock clubs to Carnegie and Walt Disney concert halls.

Núñez, founder and artistic director of the renowned Young People’s Chorus of New York City, is acclaimed for seamlessly fusing a wide range of cultural and musical idioms. In keeping with the closing concert’s forward-looking theme, the Honor Choir from LAMC’s Annual High School Choir Festival – the next generation of singers – for whom Es Tu Tiempo was commissioned on the occasion of the 25th Festival in May 2014, reprises it with the Chorale members. Composed for mixed chorus, piano, percussion and electric bass, Núñez wrote the lyrics specifically for students about the milestone of transitioning from a youth in high school to adulthood. While there is a sense of loss about experiences that will never happen again, it also offers comfort to those to come that all will be fine, regardless of the path that journey takes. The piece was underwritten by Judi and Bryant Danner.

Kirchner’s Inscapes is an a cappella work for double choir set to the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, considered “a nature mystic” and one the Victorian era’s greatest poets. A longtime tenor in the Chorale, Kirchner describes the cycle of four settings of Hopkins’s poetry as “a grand and celebratory choral symphony that calls for the Chorale’s exulting voice.” Wishing to stay true to the poetry and the poet’s intent, he says, “I’m trying to connect with that level of awe in perceiving a part of nature, a tree or a kingfisher. These aren’t just pretty pictures of nature; they’re all part of the ‘royal perception’ of the intrinsic patterns of being.” Named the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Swan Family Composer in Residence in July 2012, he is only the second Composer in Residence in the Chorale’s history, succeeding Morten Lauridsen. Kirchner’s works have been performed around the globe, including his popular arrangement of the Kenyan folksong Wana Baraka, which was performed at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle celebrating the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Frank, who is based in California but whose family tree spreads from South America to China, set Los Cantores de las Montañas (“The Singing Mountaineers”) to the poetry of José María Argueda. The Los Angeles Times describes it as “fond, alluring music that sounds like a vivid memory of a place that doesn’t exist.” One of the most sought-after classical composers in the country, the Latin Grammy Award-winning composer has “clearly emerged as a major composer” (San Francisco Classical Voice). She has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, soprano Dawn Upshaw and Chanticleer, among others. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. She has traveled extensively throughout South America, and her pieces blend Latin-American folklore, poetry, mythology and native musical styles into a Western classical framework that is uniquely her own. Huayucaltia, LA’s innovative Latin American folk jazz ensemble, is featured with the Chorale. Formed in 1985, the instrumental group, rooted in the ideals of Latin America’s nueva cancion (new song) movement of the 1970’s, skillfully fuses Andean, Afro-Peruvian, jazz, rock and classical influences. The piece was funded by The James Irvine Foundation.

Tickets range from $29 – $129. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Master Chorale

Los Angeles Master Chorale

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The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) opens the doors of Walt Disney Concert Hall to the public on Friday, May 2, 2014, 11 am and 1 pm, for two free concerts culminating the Chorale’s highly regarded High School Choir Festival, which this year features the world premiere of Es Tu Tiempo composed for the Festival’s 25th anniversary by 2011 MacArthur Fellowship recipient Francisco Núñez, artistic director of the Young Peoples Choir of New York City who is acclaimed for seamlessly fusing a wide gamut of cultural and musical idioms. The 11 am performance features a concert by the professional Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers under the direction of Associate Conductor Lesley Leighton. At 1 pm, one of the largest high school choir festivals in the nation showcases the remarkable vocal talents of nearly 1,000 students from 28 Southland high schools in a massive chorus conducted by LAMC Music Director Grant Gershon. The afternoon concert also includes three songs performed by the prestigious 80-voice Festival Honor Choir, comprised of students from the participating high schools who were nominated by their teachers.

“This is an amazing concert showcasing the extraordinary talents of the next generation of singers,” says Gershon. “When I hear these students perform, I know that the future of choral music is very bright.”

In addition to Núñez’s premiere, the massed chorus performs Hanacpachap cussicuinin by Juan Pérez Bocanegra, National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen’s Dirait-on, the old American folk song Zion’s Walls arranged by Aaron Copland, Rosephayne Powell’s The Word Was God, and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

The Festival Honor Choir performs David Dickau’s Awake, My Heart, Eric Whitacre’s i will wade out, and the spiritual Hold On! arranged by Jester Hairston.

Participating choirs include Agoura High School Mixed Choir (Agoura), Chad Bloom, director; Arleta High School Concert Choir (Arleta), Greg Broadous, director; Arroyo High School Chamber Singers (El Monte), Jennifer Stanley, director; Bellflower High School Vocal Ensemble (Bellflower), Carolyn Kelley, director; Birmingham Community Charter High School (Lake Balboa), Michael Sufolk, director; California High School Chamber Singers (Whittier), Dan Hawkins, director; Charter Oak High School Advance Choral Ensemble (Covina), Rebecca Schmalzbach, director; Covina High School Voices (Covina), Susan Silver, director; Duarte High School Cantabile Singers (Duarte), Clari Hsu, director; Eagle Rock High School Vocal Ensemble (Eagle Rock), Rachel Lee, director; El Monte High School A Cappella Choir (El Monte), Joel Whisler, director; Fullerton Union High School Concert Choir (Fullerton), Scott Hedgecock, director; Glendale High School A Cappella Choir (Glendale), Grace Sheldon-Williams, director; and Glendora High School Royal Stewarts (Glendora), Brian Trevor, director.

Also featured are Granada Hills Charter High School Honor Choir (Granada Hills), Sarah White, director; Louisville High School Ensemble Royale (Woodland Hills), Maura Crawley, director; Loyola High School of Los Angeles Choir (Los Angeles), Steven Speciale, director; Mark Keppel High School Aztec Singers (Alhambra), Tony Azeltine, director; Montebello High School Golden Keys (Montebello), Jessie Flasschoen, director; Norwalk High School Singers (Norwalk), Nancy Lanpher, director; Ramón C. Cortines High School for the Arts Music Academy Concert Choir (Los Angeles), Desiree Fowler, director; San Gabriel High School Matador Choir (San Gabriel), Cecilia Revilla, director; South High School Southland Singers (Torrance), Elizabeth Turner, director; Taft High School Vocal Ensemble (Woodland Hills), Tom Pease, director; Torrance High School Troubadours (Torrance), C. David Wright, director; Venice High School Allegros (Los Angeles), Wendy Samoff, director; West Torrance High School Aristocracy (Torrance), Kathleen Jensen, director; Wilson High School Chamber Singers (Long Beach), Curtis Heard, director.

The High School Choir Festival is a yearlong in-school program presented by the Chorale that includes intensive teacher training; classroom rehearsals and master classes for students and choral directors led by members of the LA Master Chorale Chamber Singers; area rehearsals; a dress rehearsal and the culmination concert at Disney Hall.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s High School Choir Festival is FREE and seating is first come, first served. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in Los Angeles. For information, please call (213) 972-7282 or visit www.lamc.org/HSCF.

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Jeffrey Kahane

Jeffrey Kahane


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) Music Director and celebrated pianist Jeffrey Kahane performs Bach’s timeless Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, one of the most important and well-known works of the variation form ever composed, in LACO’s Baroque Conversations series on Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7 pm, at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times described a previous performance of this work by Kahane as a “luminous rendering [that] created an open window into the music’s inner majesty, illuminating the complexities of Bach’s compositional thinking while cruising impressively across its often stormy technical demands.” A complimentary wine reception for all ticket holders begins at 6 pm.

LACO’s highly regarded “Baroque Conversations,” now in its eighth year, explores the genesis of orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period. This year the series spotlights how Baroque composers transformed a simple theme or melody into grand, complex and intricate variations and, ultimately, great music. In signature LACO style, each concert host shares insights into the music and invites questions from the audience, providing an in-depth look at the music being presented as well as an opportunity to get to know LACO artists on a more personal level.

Tickets for individual concerts (beginning at $55) 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.

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Concertos by Vivaldi, Telemann and Handel are illuminated as part of LACO’s “Baroque Conversations” series featuring widely admired Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, concertmaster and leader of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, on Thursday, April 17, 7 pm, at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The program includes Vivaldi’s Concerto in F minor for Strings, RV 143; Concerto in E minor for Violin, Strings and Continuo, “Il Favorito”, Op. 11, No. 2; and Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, Two Flutes, Two Oboes, Bassoon, Strings and Continuo, RV 566; Telemann’s Concerto in G major for Four Violins, TWV 40:201; and Handel’s Concerto Grosso in C major, “Alexander’s Feast”, HWV 318. Blumenstock is joined by members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

LACO’s highly regarded “Baroque Conversations,” now it its eighth year, explores the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period. This year the series spotlights how Baroque composers transformed a simple theme or melody into grand, complex and intricate variations and great music. In signature LACO style, each concert host shares insights into the music and invites questions from the audience, providing an in-depth look at the music being presented as well as an opportunity to get to know LACO artists on a more personal level. A complimentary wine reception for all ticket holders begins at 6 pm.

The “Baroque Conversations” series concludes on May 1, 2014 when LACO Music Director and esteemed pianist Jeffrey Kahane performs Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

Tickets for individual concerts (beginning at $55) 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.

Elizabeth Blumenstock

Elizabeth Blumenstock

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Grant Gershon, Los Angeles Master Chorale

Grant Gershon, Los Angeles Master Chorale


The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), heralded around the globe for its exceptional artistry and wide ranging repertoire, showcases “Minimalist Masterworks,” featuring works by celebrated American composers Steve Reich and David Lang, on Sunday, April 6, 2014, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert opens with Pérotin’s Sederunt principes featuring tenor soloists Pablo Corá, Michael Lichtenauer and Shawn Kirchner. The Chorale then reprises Reich’s You Are (Variations), commissioned, premiered and recorded by the Chorale in 2004 (Nonesuch), and Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning the little match girl passion, of which LAMC presented an extended choral version last season hailed as “a performance to remember” (Outwest Arts). ListenUp!, a pre-concert talk with Gershon and KUSC’s Alan Chapman, is slated for 6 pm, in BP Hall. The concert is part of the second installment of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s citywide, multi-disciplinary Minimalist Jukebox Festival, curated by composer John Adams.

Critics across the country have lauded the little match girl passion, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story with additional text borrowed from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, as one of the most original choral compositions of the new century since its riveting premiere in Carnegie Hall. The Los Angeles Times described the Pulitzer Prize-winning piece as a “missive from heaven…a stunner” and credits Lang with finding “a radiantly hip spiritual core to a maudlin story that stubbornly refuses to go out of fashion.” The New York Times proclaims, “With this work – one of the most moving and original scores of recent years – Lang has solidified his standing as an American master.” The Washington Post declares, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved…(it) is unlike any music I know.”

Reich’s four-movement You Are (Variations), considered by the composer as one of his most important works, is written for 18 amplified voices, and an amplified instrumental ensemble. In addition, there are four virtuoso piano parts for which the Chorale has tapped noted pianists Gloria Cheng, Lisa Edwards, Bryan Pezzone and Vicki Ray, who also performed on the Chorale’s recording. Enthused the Los Angeles Times of the premiere, “Grant Gershon conducted a fearless performance…full of elation.” The LA Weekly called it “splendid…gleaming…fresh.” The text of You Are (Variations), written in both English and Hebrew, is drawn from the Talmud, the Psalms, and the writings of philosopher Paul Wittgenstein. Additionally, the title itself and the text of the first movement are taken from the phrase “you are wherever your thoughts are,” written by the 18th Century Jewish mystic Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

Tickets range from $29 – $119. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, please call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance.) The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) presents an evening of baroque music on Thursday, March 27, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown LA as part of its STRAD FEST LA, a remarkable gathering of instruments which transforms the Southland into “Strad Central.” Strad Fest LA is an unprecedented showcase for some of luthier Antonio Stradivari’s most celebrated and rare Stradivarius violins brought together for the first time ever and played over four days at one private and three public events in venues throughout the area. With approximately 650 surviving Stradivarius violins, violas, cellos, harps and guitars in the world, this feat is akin to assembling a musical instrument “dream team.”

The BAROQUE CONVERSATIONS evening spotlights four Strads in Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto for Four Violins in D major featuring the 1708 “Ruby,” named for its rich, extremely well preserved ruby-tinted varnish and owned by The Stradivari Society, which lends great instruments to leading emerging artists; the “TITIAN,” considered among the finest violins of the maker’s Golden Period and revered for its unusual power, scope and focus, which was named “Titian” by a French dealer who said its orange-red color reminded him of the paintings of the famed artist; the 1716 “MILSTEIN,” played for nearly 40 years by virtuoso Nathan Milstein and currently owned by Southern California philanthropists Jerry and Terri Kohl, who loan it frequently to LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer; and the c. 1720 “BEECHBACK,” whose simple understated dark exterior belies its rich tone and full sound. These remarkable violins are played by critically acclaimed artists Margaret Batjer, LACO’s Concertmaster, Chee-Yun, Cho-Liang Lin and Philippe Quint. The program also includes LACO Principal Oboe Allan Vogel, leader and host, soprano Elissa Johnston, bass Steve Pence and LACO musicians who perform three Bach cantatas – “Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke” (“I am content in my good fortune”), from Cantata No. 84; “Es ist vollbracht” (“It is accomplished”), from Cantata No.159; and “Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn” (“Walk in the way of faith”), from Cantata No. 152. Tickets begin at $65 and include a complimentary wine reception at 6 pm.

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.

The Autry Foundation is a sponsor of Strad Fest LA.

For STRAD FEST LA tickets and more information, please visit www.laco.org or call 213 622 7001.

LACO Principal Oboe Allan Vogel

LACO Principal Oboe Allan Vogel

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Frankenstein: Of Monsters and Men, a major new oratorio with powerful themes of rejection, misunderstanding and regret composed by 100 high school students from downtown Los Angeles’ Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts and based on Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel, is being premiere by the students in conjunction with the Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers, instrumentalists and soloists in free matinee and evening performances on Thursday, February 20, 2014, at noon, and Friday, February 21, and 7 pm, at the high school’s main auditorium. (Ample free on-site parking is available.) Compelling arias and rousing choruses tell the dark gothic tale of the eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque monster during a laboratory experiment, and then, horrified by the result, regrets giving life to the creature he just made. The students composed the melodies and lyrics for the oratorio, which is told in several musical movements. The performances are the culmination of the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s award-winning “Voices Within” artists-in-residence program, designed to foster collaboration among students to create and perform their own original choral works.

Shelley’s novel, written when she was only 21 years old, resonates with students on a variety of levels. For the oratorio, students have focused on Shelley’s theme of being outcast as their libretto portrays the tale of a lonely creature shunned by his creator and misunderstood and feared by everyone else.

The 9th through 12th grade students worked closely over a 20-week period with the guidance and mentorship of singer Alice Kirwan Murray, lyricist Doug Cooney and composer Jonathan Beard, as well as their own choir teachers, Desiree Fowler and Stormy Sacks. They learned how to adapt a classic work of literature, write a libretto based on the adaptation and create the melodies and harmonic structure for each movement of the oratorio. They also learned techniques for capturing the “voice” of the characters and how to propel the momentum of the plot and paint the mood of a scene. After the work was completed, students auditioned for feature roles and received vocal coaching to prepare for the culmination performance. This is the fourth year LAMC has offered its “Voices Within” program at the school.

An oratorio is an extended musical composition with a text dramatic in character for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, performed with minimal action, costume and scenery. Complex and sophisticated musical works, they challenge even season composers, making the student’s accomplishments particularly noteworthy.

This massive undertaking is an extension of the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s award-winning music education program, “Voices Within,” which was originally designed to teach fifth graders collaborative and compositional skills by composing and performing their own original songs and has engaged over 25,000 children and created over 350 original songs since its launch in 2001.

Encouraged by previous successful collaborations involving elementary and middle school students, and with the support of the California Arts Council’s Artists-in-School Program, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles Master Chorale adapted the “Voices Within” curriculum to address the advanced maturity of high school students, specifically choral students at the new visual and performing arts high school in downtown LA.

The concert is free, and seating is first come, first served. Cortines High School for Visual and Performing Arts is located at 450 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Campus parking is free (enter on Cesar Chavez Avenue).

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