Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra blog

April 11, 2014

sound investment with Hannah Lash

sound investment with Hannah Lash

photo New York Times

In LACO’s latest Sound Investment Salon on February 20, composer Hannah Lash shared insights about her approach to composing and her world premiere composition, This Ease.

fiddlefest: history in the making
April 01, 2014

When I hear the word ‘fiddlefest,’ my mind paints a very specific picture: bales of hay, people wearing overalls and biting pieces of straw, lots of “yee-haws” filing the air, and a crowd of folks dancing and having a great time. But thanks to LACO’s astounding Stradivarius FiddleFest concert, that image will forever be replaced with the memories from last Friday night. I’ve enjoyed my share of LACO concerts over the years, but I’ve never left a venue feeling so in awe, so invigorated, and so giddy.

what do you get a 329-year-old music icon?
March 23, 2014

This weekend LACO celebrated Bach’s birthday and in a major social faux-pas, I plumb forgot to bring a present. Whoops! Johann Sebastian Bach was born this month in 1685, and I’m not exactly sure what you get for a man firmly rooted in his fourth century of being a major player in the international music scene. Perhaps something that he wasn’t able to enjoy during his lifetime? After all, Bach died in 1750, before many commonplace things we use daily even existed, including the first published dictionary (1755), carbonated beverages (1767), the flush toilet (1775), and the hot air balloon (1783). Hell, Bach never got to see the horrors of the guillotine (1789) – but that’d make for a pretty lousy birthday present.

hope springs eternal - even on the hill
March 19, 2014

...especially on The Hill! As the folks of Chavez Ravine referred to their hamlet nestled in the baby Santa Monica Mountains. Truth is I love baseball – love baseball at the park the way God and country intended it to be watched. And every game I went to last year as I watched the magic of the double play turned from second base to first I thought of the magic under all those bases. The magic is this: Several residents that Culture Clash interviewed for our play CHAVEZ RAVINE claimed to have been born in houses near second base and shortstop.

the comeback kid
March 16, 2014

So it’s JS Bach’s birthday again. LACO will be celebrating with the composer’s music, of course. This time it’s the exquisite Concerto in D minor for Two Violins. In addition to being a fine example of the Baroque concerto, the work will also showcase the talents of Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh.

SUBJ: a personal musical journey
March 14, 2014

In honor of Women’s History Month, we bring you this short, first-person memoir from Judith Rosen, which tells how she began her work as a respected researcher and writer on women composers. LACO is honored to call Judith a member of our Emeritus Board of Directors. She is author of, among other writings, Grażyna Bacewicz: Her Life and Works.

every stradivarius violin has a story to tell…
March 10, 2014

Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari is generally considered the greatest and most significant artisan in his field. In addition to violins, he also crafted harps, guitars, violas and cellos. By current estimate, he made more than 1,100 instruments throughout his life. About 650 of these instruments survive, including between 450 and 512 violins.

beethoven's eroica, inside and out
February 23, 2014

I look forward to LACO’s annual “Discover” concert more than any other concert on their schedule. It’s a concert cut out for an orchestral music novice like me, because in addition to hearing a staggering performance of a classic, I’m also exposed to a tremendous amount of great information, and that’s due to the unique structure of the concert. Unlike the rest of LACO’s concerts, the “Discover” concert focuses on a singular piece of music, but before you hear it played, LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane serves as what’s called a “musical tour guide,” and presents what I can best describe as a cross between a lecture and a musical presentation. He dives into the history of the piece, the composer’s life and point-of-view when it was written, and draws comparisons and contrasts to the music that proceeded it and the music that came after. This year, that treatment was given to Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, known as the “Eroica,” and, like the “Discover” concerts in previous years, this was a compelling and thoroughly entertaining evening.

prometheus unbound
February 16, 2014

Prometheus is a fascinating mythological figure. His story has been told in numerous versions, with some variations among them, of course. The first known mention of the Titan Prometheus was in an eighth-century B.C. epic poem by Hesiod called, Theogony. The section of the poem dealing with Prometheus lasts only about a hundred lines, but it hits upon a couple of the myth’s main points, namely: 1) Prometheus gives fire to the mortal creatures on earth in defiance of Zeus and the gods; 2) for this transgression, Prometheus is chained to a rock and must daily endure having his liver eaten by an eagle. (This is a daily occurrence because Prometheus is immortal and his liver apparently regenerates every night.) In later versions of the story, it is Prometheus who creates the humans out of clay, with Athena literally breathing life into them. This third aspect of the myth is one that brings new meaning to Prometheus’ theft of fire; if Prometheus brings fire to the humans because he wants to anger Zeus, that’s one thing, but if he gives fire to protect and empower his creations, that’s something else. The gift of fire becomes more poignant in light of Prometheus’ sense of responsibility towards his creations and in terms of his punishment: the hero sacrifices his life and endures torture for the good of his creations.

older, not necessarily wiser
February 08, 2014

Warning: this Newbie blog could seem more refined, more elegant, and/or wiser than those in the past*. This is because I came into LACO’s Jan 25th performance of Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn at Alex Theater in Glendale with a different and potentially advanced appreciation of classical music. You see, I turned 30 four days earlier and presumed that I would hear these classical pieces with an air of sophistication I lacked in my 20s. I was ready for LACO to “wow” me with music that I was sure would go straight over the heads of the 29 and under crowd.

you are my inspiration
January 31, 2014

Wagner. Beethoven. Chopin.

From the looks of it, these do not look like men who love…or are sensitive…or have many feelings other than maybe anger…irritation…or general disgust. How then did these legendary figures compose such beautiful music full of emotion and passion? Where did their inspiration come from?

the musical surprise I was never expecting
January 28, 2014

I’ve been coming to LACO concerts for years (I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for them since 2008... time has just flown by!). So you’d think one of these days I’d learn my lesson and not indulge any preconceived notions of what I’ll like or not like, because every single time I do that, I’m wrong. The LACO concert last weekend (Mozart, Beethoven & Haydn) was a perfect example. I arrived to Royce Hall early, and was able to spend a few minutes perusing the wonderful program notes before the concert. I read about Musica Celestis by Aaron Jay Kernis, a piece I was particularly interested in because 1) he’s a current, very-much-alive composer and 2) I’ve never heard of him or his music. And as soon as I read the first six words about this piece of music, I had my mind made up. And I was dead wrong.

papa's got a brand new bag
January 19, 2014

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), perhaps more than almost anyone else, embodied the zeitgeist of the entire Classical period. He came of age just as Classical forms and ensembles were becoming standardized and lived to see those same forms reach their peak. He was part of the patronage system for most of his career, composing in the prominent styles and genres of the time and working creatively within them. His unique position in history allowed him to know both Mozart and Beethoven and to observe (and participate in) the nascent Romantic period in music. It just so happens that the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn will be played on LACO’s next concert, and Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante, which dates from 1792, comes from a time when Haydn was just beginning a new phase in his life and career.

meet matthew halls
January 15, 2014

Matthew Halls’s recent appointment as artistic director for the Oregon Bach Festival has put the 37 year old Brit at the forefront of today’s leading conductors. So, we’re honored that he will be making his California debut for our January 25/26 concerts where audiences will hear a sampling of some of Classical period’s greatest composers: Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn.

it's chilly outside! #WarmUpJanuary
January 03, 2014

I know cold weather. I’m from cold weather. I know all about snow: heavy snow, light snow, wet snow, sideways snow, flurries, slush and the dreaded ‘mixed precipitation’. I’m very familiar with forecasts such as, “today’s high will be 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind chill it will feel more like -10”. Philadelphia may not be as bad as places like Minneapolis or Chicago, but it certainly gets its’ fair share of cold weather.

giving back
December 31, 2013

As we ring in the New Year I wanted to take a moment to reflect on LACO’s extraordinary social media giving campaign. Currently on day 78, #LACO205 challenges LACO patrons to generate a donation every day of our season through June (205 days). We have had resounding support and success in keeping our epic giving streak alive. Over the past several months, LACO has featured a vibrant campaign full of engaging content (pictures, videos, articles, blogs), giveaways, prizes, raffles and acknowledgements for our dedicated LACO patrons who contribute through #LACO205. One of our favorite features in our campaign is rewarding our followers at the end of the week for keeping the streak alive by featuring a musician pick: an artist, work, or track that the featured LACO musicians have been listening to lately and finds particularly exciting. I promise there are some very surprising and enlightening picks from our musicians! Be sure to check out the complete listing of musician picks.