Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

fishing in the 3rd stream

the 2010-11 season highlights musicians with third (and other) stream links

August 27, 2010

One of the aspects Barbara and I enjoy most about attending LACO concerts, year after year, is the opportunity to be exposed to, and stimulated by, new musical experiences and expansive soloists with whom we are unfamiliar. Oh, it’s not that we don’t enjoy the musical diet we’re fed by LACO on a regular basis of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven; a diet with no protein and carbohydrate staples would be a sorry diet, indeed! But a diet of only meat and potatoes (especially one devoid of salt, pepper, spices, garlic, and jalapeños), although it might keep body and soul together, would be apt to bore us to tears in short order.

The 2010-11 LACO season contains a cornucopia of new music and exciting soloists. Among the new (to us) works we will hear are Pierre Jalbert’s Les espaces infinis (“The Infinite Spaces”), Daniel Kellogg’s Mozart’s Hymn, Osvaldo Golijov’s Last Round, Witold Lutoslawski’s Musique funèbre (“Funeral Music”), John Harbison’s Gli accordi più usati (“The Most Often Used Chords”), and, in May 2011, Derek Bermel’s 2010 Sound Investment commission (as always, a world premiere). You can find out how you can become involved with the Sound Investment program here.

Soloists who have been chosen to be spotlighted during the new season will also provide us with new and virtuosic experiences; they are fascinating individuals with varied musical interests:

The September 25/26 concert features Leila Josefowicz performing the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19. Ms. Josefowicz was born in Missisauga, Ontario, Canada in 1977, but she moved to Los Angeles as a young child. She began studying the violin at age three and a half, using the Suzuki method. By age eight she was studying with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School but attending public school, in order to assure a well-rounded education. Her family moved to Philadelphia when she was 13, so that she could attend the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Jaime Laredo, Jascha Brodsky, Felix Galimir, and Joseph Gingold. While studying at Curtis, she attended the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia, completing her studies toward a Bachelor of Music degree and her High School diploma in the same year!

Still in her teens, she played with symphony orchestras in Europe, Asia and the US, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Montreal and Toronto. She made here Carnegie Hall debut in 1994, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The same year, she signed a recording contract with Philips Classics and has subsequently recorded violin masterworks, recital repertoire, and concertos of romantic and modern composers for the Warner Classics, Nonesuch and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Ms. Josefowicz has kept a busy international schedule as a soloist. She has a strong interest in jazz, improvisation, and new music; she lives with their son Lukas in New York City.

The spotlight is on LACO for the December 11/12 concert: Principal clarinetist Joshua Ranz will play the Aaron Copland Clarinet Concerto, while principal ‘cellist Andrew Shulman will perform Robert Schumann’s ‘Cello Concerto in A minor. Joshua Ranz has been a member the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1999 (principal since 2008), and the Pacific Symphony since 1997. (He also performs with the Pasadena and San Diego Symphonies and the Los Angeles Opera, and previously, he was a member of the Honolulu and San Jose Symphonies.) Josh spends his summers in Western New York, performing as a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. He also performs with the Mainly Mozart festival in San Diego. He has recorded with LACO, the Pacific Symphony, and on numerous motion picture soundtracks.

Josh performs throughout Orange County with The Pacific Symphony Woodwind Quintet. He has performed recitals at the International Clarinet Association Convention in Columbus, Ohio, and with the New York Woodwind Quintet at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Joshua and his wife, oboist Lelie Resnick, have two sons, Jonah, born in October 2006, and Nathan, born in November 2009.

Andrew Shulman’s accomplishments and musical interests are many and varied; he was appointed principal ‘cello with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestras at ages 20 and 22, respectively, and he is fond of “jazz with a rocky, harder edge” and more esoteric “math metal” rock; he has played with Elton John, Tim Davies, George Martin, Metallica, Moody Blues, Paul McCartney, Hothouse Flowers, Whitney Houston, Uli Jon Roth, and Rod Stewart, to name a few. Andrew was featured in a two-part interview here in The Stream last year; you can read it here and here.

Pianist for Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73) on the April 16/17, 2011 concert, Jon Kimura Parker is both virtuosic and versatile. Parker was born in 1959 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and appeared with the Vancouver Youth Orchestra at the age of five. He studied at the Juilliard School with Adele Marcus and has been featured with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and the NHK Tokyo Orchestra, among others. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor, and Gold Medal Laureate of the Leeds International Piano Competition. He is currently Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston.

But Parker has also collaborated regularly with the Tokyo Quartet and Lynn Harrell and has jammed with Doc Severinsen and Bobby McFerrin. For the Telarc label with Professor Peter Schickele (of P.D.Q. Bach fame), he has recorded Two Pianos Are Better Than One, with a picture of the two of them, snarling at each other, back-to-back, straddling a piano bench with dueling pistols. A recital of his that begins with Beethoven Sonatas is apt to follow with John Adams’ China Gates, continue with three pieces composed by American jazz pianist Chick Corea, and then end with Billy Joel’s Scenes From An Italian Restaurant!

Finally, the concert season concludes on May 14/15 with the world premiere of Derek Bermel’s Sound Investment composition. Bermel, who holds B.A. and D.M.A. degrees from Yale University and the University of Michigan, has been called by the Toronto Star as “an eclectic with wide open ears.” A Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist, he has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. Bermel’s works draw from a rich variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, pop, rock, blues, folk, and gospel. Hands-on experience with music of cultures around the world has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language.

Last season Bermel performed as soloist alongside Wynton Marsalis in his Migration Series, a work commissioned by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and American Composer’s Orchestra (ACO) of Carnegie Hall. He also appeared as clarinet soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in conductor/composer John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons, and as soloist in his own concerto Voices at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. The Philharmonia Orchestra also produced an all-Bermel concert as part of its Music of Today series at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Highlights during this season include the Pittsburgh Symphony’s premiere of The Good Life for chorus and orchestra, Golden Motors, a music-theatre collaboration with librettist/lyricist Wendy S. Walters, and a return to Carnegie Hall for two premieres: a Koussevitzky Commission for ACO conducted by Maestro Dennis Russell Davies, and as soloist in the world premiere of Fang Man’s clarinet concerto. The recent CD of his orchestral works on BMOP/Sound was nominated for a 2010 Grammy, and a new CD of his large ensemble works is due to be released in 2010 by Alarm Will Sound.

Bermel is writing his Sound Investment composition for Luciana Souza. Grammy winner Souza is a remarkable vocal talent, one of her generation’s leading singers and interpreters. Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, she grew up in a family of Bossa Nova innovators. Her work as a performer transcends traditional boundaries around musical styles, offering solid roots in jazz, sophisticated lineage in world music, and an enlightened approach to classical repertoire and new music.

As a leader, Luciana Souza has eight acclaimed releases, including her four Grammy nominated records: Brazilian Duos (2002); North and South (2003); Duos II (2005); and Tide (2009). Her debut recording for Universal/Verve (produced by her husband, Larry Klein), The New Bossa Nova (2007), was met with critical acclaim (Billboard Latin Jazz Album of the Year) and on “Tide,” Luciana “continued her captivating journey as a uniquely talented vocalist who
organically crosses genre borders. Her music soulfully reflects, wistfully regrets, romantically woos, joyfully celebrates…” (Billboard).

Ms. Souza has performed and recorded with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock (on his Grammy-winning record, River – The Joni Letters), Paul Simon, Bobby McFerrin, Maria Schneider, Danilo Perez, and many others. Her longstanding duo work with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo has earned her accolades across the globe. Her complete discography contains more than 50 records
as a side singer. Luciana Souza’s singing has been called “transcendental,” “perfect,” and of “unparalleled beauty.” Entertainment Weekly said, “Her voice traces a landscape of emotion that knows no boundaries.”

Luciana Souza has been a prominent soloist in two important works by composer Osvaldo Golijov: “La Pasión Según San Marcos (“Saint Mark Passion”); and Oceana. She has performed with the Bach Akademie Stuttgart, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Other orchestral appearances include de Falla’s “El Amor Brujo” with the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her work in chamber music includes a fruitful collaboration with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

Ms. Souza began her recording career at age three with a radio commercial, and recorded more than 200 jingles and soundtracks, becoming a first-call studio veteran at age 16. She spent four years on faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she received a Bachelor’s in Jazz Composition. Ms. Souza earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory of Music and taught for four years at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, in New York City. In 2005, Luciana was awarded Female Jazz Singer of the Year, by the Jazz Journalists Association. From 2005 to 2010, Luciana was the Jazz Artist in Residence with the prestigious San Francisco Performances.

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